In announcing a lease sale for Atlantic wind energy, newly minted Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell pledged her department will not “get in the way” if industry wants to move ahead with developing wind farms off Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday: “It will really be up to industry to decide the timeframe on which they choose to develop wind-energy resources…Offshore wind has been notoriously slow to move forward in the U.S. even as the sector has advanced in Europe. I can’t promise they will be in production in four years but we certainly don’t want to be a roadblock to them being in production in four years if it makes good economic sense to the community…We’re optimistic with this lease sale that we’ll see some action. But the market will dictate, and we certainly won’t get in the way.”

From DOI: Auction to include 165,000 Acres off Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

According to a report recently released by the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the North Lease Area has the potential for installed capacity of 1,955 megawatts (MW), and the South Lease Area, 1,440 MW. Together, these areas could support enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes, a significant increase over what BOEM had originally estimated last year. For a map of the Wind Energy Area, click here.