Governor Deval Patrick’s administration has heralded the start of a leasing process for the development of up to 4,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity in federal waters off the Massachusetts coast.  That process began today with the Obama administration’s issuance of a “Request for Interest” seekingwind farm 2.jpg to gauge industry interest in developing wind farms in about 3,000 square miles of federal waters south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.  Bullish outgoing Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles said:

Let there be no question that Massachusetts is, and will be, the nation’s offshore wind leader – spurring technological innovation and technology to reduce costs and improve performance.”

Bowles’s successor, incoming EEA Secretary Rick Sullivan, added:

The offshore wind industry is poised to create thousands of clean energy jobs, and Governor Patrick and I intend to make sure that a significant portion of those jobs are created here in Massachusetts.” 

Bowles also outlined a new program in which the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center will partner with local research institutions and wind industry leaders to promote research aimed at reducing the cost of offshore wind energy in an effort to meet the federal Department of Energy’s aggressive goals in that regard.

The complete, lavishly-detailed press release is available here (pdf).