At a press conference staged in Charlestown Friday, federal officials announced they were moving ahead with plans to open up a large area south of the Vineyard for offshore wind development.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it would begin an environmental assessment for the 1,300-square-mile area that lies about 14 miles south of the Vineyard.

“There is great potential here,” bureau director Tommy P. Beaudreau told The Boston Globe. The press conference was held at the state’s wind technology testing center in Charlestown.

The environmental assessment stage is one step in long process and will take about a year to complete.

The newly-designated area for wind development is vastly cut down from what was originally proposed, and comes following about two years of meetings with fishermen, Vineyard Wampanoags and other stakeholders in Southeastern Massachusetts as the federal government mapped out areas of ocean suitable for offshore wind development.

The area now under discussion is partly the result of those meetings.

“We’ve been discussing this for some time and so now they are moving on to the next step. But there is still a long way to go,” said Warren Doty a leading Vineyard fisheries advocate and a member of the fisheries advisory group appointed by the Bureau of Ocean Management.

He said the advisory group has called a meeting for Feb. 13 to discuss the latest developments.

Mr. Doty also said the city of New Bedford has become actively involved in monitoring the offshore wind plans.

He said the area now targeted for environmental assessment has relatively low priority as a fishing ground.

“I don’t think it’s a critical area for most Vineyard fishermen. It does involve lobstermen and some squid fishermen,” he said, adding: “We still have to see where the turbines are being proposed and what kind of configuration they have. We’ve been part of this discussion and it’s ongoing.”