US DoE awards USD 13.5m to environmental monitoring projects to support offshore wind

Image by Duke University (nicholas.duke.edu)

October 18 (Renewables Now) - The US Department of Energy (DoE) last week said it will provide USD 13.5 million (EUR 11.6m) in funding for four projects that will support sustainable offshore wind development and advance the US’ goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

The projects will deliver environmental and wildlife data that will inform offshore wind siting, permitting and help protect wildlife and fisheries.

Two of the projects concern wildlife and fisheries monitoring on the East Coast.

Duke University has been awarded a USD-7.5-million grant to study the potential risks posed by offshore wind energy development along the East Coast to birds, bats and marine mammals. A team of researchers from 15 institutions will work on this project. “Our goal is to provide a long-term adaptive roadmap – a science-based toolkit – that industry and government agencies can use,” Doug Nowacek, who will lead the Wildlife and Offshore Wind (WOW) research project, said in an announcement by the university.

Coonamessett Farm Foundation, together with partners, will receive USD 3.3 million to survey changes in commercial fish and marine invertebrate populations and seafloor habitats at an offshore wind development site on the East Coast.

The other two projects aim to help prepare the West Coast for floating offshore wind development.

With a USD-2-million award, Oregon State University will carry out visual surveys and acoustic monitoring of marine mammals and seabirds to create predictive density maps of species in potential wind energy development areas on the West Coast.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has been awarded USD 750,000 to develop autonomous robotic technology for environmental monitoring of marine organisms and the seafloor at potential wind energy development areas on the West Coast.

The initiatives are jointly funded by DoE and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in the US Department of the Interior.

"This partnership illustrates the Administration’s all-of-government approach to achieve our ambitious clean energy goals, including deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030," said the Department of the Interior’s principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management Laura Daniel-Davis. "We are committed to working with our federal partners to ensure that we have the best available science to inform future decisions to help reduce impacts to marine life and other ocean users," added Daniel-Davis.

US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland last week unveiled plans for BOEM to potentially hold up to seven new offshore lease sales by 2025 in the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and offshore the Carolinas, California and Oregon.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.862)

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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