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What a week it’s been for offshore wind!

Photo: Molly A. Seltzer
What a week it’s been for offshore wind!
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2018 has seen no shortage of weeks filled with great news about offshore wind power, and we’ve just wrapped up another one.

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) declared that it will assess the waters off the Atlantic Coast for potential future offshore wind lease areas. Offshore energy developers have snapped up rights to develop 13 existing wind energy leases identified by BOEM, including a North Carolina lease area awarded by the Trump administration last year. BOEM’s latest assessment will help expand the market and create more demand for American workers to build, deploy and operate offshore wind farms.

Speaking of lease sales, Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke ended the week with two long-awaited bombshells. First, he announced the proposed lease sale of the two areas off the coast of Massachusetts, which total nearly 390,000 acres of developable ocean. With the Commonwealth announcing the winner of the Massachusetts RFP by the end of the month, Bay Staters are going to be cheering more than just the Sox this Spring!

Also announced Friday, BOEM is publishing a Call for Information and Nominations to ascertain whether companies are interested in developing offshore wind in the proposed areas and to obtain public input on the potential development within the Call Areas. The Call Areas are located in the New York Bight and were proposed by the State in their Offshore Wind Master Plan, released in January. We’re buoyed by the administration’s continued momentum to extend American energy leadership through the power of offshore wind.

These new developments will soon translate into jobs, and lots of them. A study by the Workforce Development Institute found that 74 different occupations – including electricians, ironworkers, and welders – perform work during the various stages of planning, development and operations of offshore wind farms. That is a diversified workforce that will benefit from developing this ocean energy resource.

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Nancy Sopko is the Director of Offshore Wind and Federal Legislative Affairs at the American Wind Energy Association. In this role, Nancy is the lead on offshore wind issues for the association and focuses on building the political power of wind by increasing the level of engagement between AWEA’s member companies and Members of Congress and the administration. Before joining AWEA, Nancy worked at Oceana, a nonprofit ocean conservation advocacy organization, where she focused on promoting offshore wind development. Nancy also worked as Legislative Counsel for the Hon. John H. Adler (NJ-03) (deceased), the New Jersey State Legislature, and is a licensed attorney in the state of New Jersey.

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