Towards the end of last month, OSC’s managing director, Dr Victoria Todd was interviewed by April Reese, at Scientific American, on her thoughts about how marine life can coexist with offshore wind projects.
Climate change is a major stressor which has already begun to show the devastating effects it is having on communities and ecosystems world-wide. Offshore wind has the potential to drive the globe into a greener, more energy efficient world; however, some worries have been highlighted about the immediate damage offshore wind could cause to marine fauna compared to the long-lasting benefits offshore wind creates.
Over the coming decade, the US plans to increase offshore wind production from Rhode Island to Virginia, in line with the pledge of greater wind production by 2030 from the Biden administration. As stated in the podcast, the US is looking towards Europe for advice as their windfarm production is much more mature.
Dr Todd states that the key to limiting damage or disturbance to marine fauna requires adequate baseline studies being performed as part of advanced planning prior to construction. This tactic informs developers and scientists what distribution marine fauna cover across the East coast over the various seasons. This is vital when considering endangered populations such as the Atlantic right whale who are susceptible to injury or disturbance from the noise emitted by windfarm construction.
The other guest speaker, Joe Brodie (Offshore Wind Research Lead at the Rutgers Center for Ocean Observing Leadership) describes how their collaboration with Ørsted, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and a group at the University of Rhode Island have set up the ecosystem and passive acoustic monitoring project. They are hoping use of remote PAM systems (via bouys and gliders) can better monitor the presence and absence of marine fauna to inform planning and operations to install turbines outwith critical periods the fauna are known to inhabit project regions.
Another advantageous and necessary route is the use of Protected Species Observers (PSO) or Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) during the activity to ensure no marine fauna is within the danger zone, or mitigation zone. The use of equipment such as pingers is another technique which has been used in Europe to encourage animals to move away from the area to protect them from the impacts of pile driving.
This podcast highlights that scientists and developers will collaborate to ensure that the welfare for marine fauna are considered within every aspect of offshore wind installation along the US coastline.
To listen to the podcast or if you want to read the full transcript, click here.
OSC is one of the world’s leading providers of underwater noise measurement and modelling, marine mammal impact assessment services, and advisors for offshore industry. OSC’s team are experts in PAM technology, providing highly trained PSOs, and assistance with EIAs, MMMPs, and permit applications. If you have read this looking for environmental advice, contact us to see how we can help at firstname.lastname@example.org.