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Massachusetts governor, feds say large new parcel will be opened to offshore wind energy farms

BOSTON - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell say a large area off the coast is being opened for commercial wind energy leases.

The officials say the proposed area is more than 742,000 acres, or more than 1,160 square miles. That's larger than the land area of Rhode Island and will nearly double the federal offshore acreage available for commercial-scale wind energy projects.

The area is about 12 miles offshore, south of Martha's Vineyard, and will be auctioned as four leases.

So far the government has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic Coast, including Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts and an area off Delaware. Two competitive leases also have been awarded in the Massachusetts-Rhode Island area and Virginia.

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