Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is not resting on his laurels for his final weeks in the corner office. On the contrary, he is advocating for a large auction for offshore wind development.
Patrick has reportedly told public relations executive Helene Solomon that the federal government would be auctioning off a substantial area south of Martha’s Vineyard. Once developed, this location could potentially provide power to as much as 60 percent of Massachusetts homes.
Along with federal officials Sally Jewell and Walter Cruickshank, Secretary of the Interor and Acting Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, respectively, Patrick announced in June that there will be approximately 742,000 acres off the shore of Massachusetts that could be up for lease for commercial wind energy use. This is expected to be one of the largest offshore wind projects in federal waters.
Massachusetts Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett has recommended that the federal agency lower the minimum bid from $2.00 per acre of the tract to just $1.00 because these areas are quite large and quite deep, which could be a deterrent to developers. She has also recommended other cost savings, such as lowered rent and fees for operating the site.
Support of wind energy projects such as this one is not new for Patrick, who also supported the Cape Wind energy project that was planned for an area in the waters of Nantucket Sound. Unfortunately, that project, while still ongoing, still faces opposition and has not gained much traction.