Interior Department to Review Proposal for First U.S. Floating Wind Turbine

August 15, 2012

Photo of a large wind turbine in the ocean.

A Statoil Hywind turbine in place off Norway's coast. Credit: Trude Refsahl, Statoil

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on August 9 announced it will begin reviewing a proposal to build what would be the nation's first floating wind farm. DOI's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is proceeding with an assessment of Statoil North America's Hywind Maine project. The proposed wind farm, located about 12 nautical miles off the coast in water about 500 feet deep, would have a 12-megawatt capacity from four wind turbines. The area Statoil North America has requested for a commercial wind lease covers approximately 22 square miles, though the company states that the final park is expected to be closer to 4 square miles after determining its environmental impact and wind resources.

BOEM is seeking public comment on environmental issues related to the proposed leasing, construction, and operation activities in the offshore area through a Notice of Intent to Prepare an environmental impact statement. Publication of a Request for Interest in the Federal Register will open a 60-day public comment period to solicit submissions of indications of competitive interest and additional information on potential environmental consequences and other uses of the proposed lease area. Accordingly, BOEM intends to prepare a statement that will consider the reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences associated with the Hywind Maine project. See the DOI press release, the Statoil proposalPDF, the BOEM public comment Web page, and the Statoil Hywind Web page.