Offshore wind projects win US research grants

UNITED STATES: A computer program to model the visual impacts of offshore renewables is among eight research projects to win $5million in grants from the US government.

The money went to projects aiming to support the responsible siting and permitting of offshore renewables projects, including wind.

The Department of Energy, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) jointly awarded the funds.

The three agencies said the research will address information gaps regarding the potential environmental effects of offshore energy.

This would help reduce environmental risks and regulatory uncertainties, the three bodies said.

Six of the projects would be applicable to offshore wind. They are:

  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bioacoustics Research Program (Ithaca, New York): $499,000. Effects of construction and operation noises on marine vertebrates.
  • The University of Arkansas Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (Fayetteville, Arkansas): $497,000. Proposed system to design the spatial layout of an offshore facility, run visual analyses and generate realistic visualisations from multiple viewpoints.
  • Pacific Energy Ventures (Portland, Oregon): $499,000. Framework for identifying, collecting and comparing environmental data.
  • The University of Massachusetts Marine Renewable Energy Center (Dartmouth, Massachusetts): $748,000. Development of a technology roadmap for advanced spatial survey technologies, such as buoy-based LIDAR, for monitoring offshore wind and hydrokinetic resources and facilities.
  • University of Rhode Island (Kingston, Rhode Island): $745,000. Developing standardized protocols for baseline studies, and development of a framework for evaluating cumulative environmental impacts.
  • Parametrix (Auburn, Washington): $499,000. Use of advanced probabilistic statistical methods to integrate oceanographic, ecological, human use data, stakeholder input, and cumulative impacts to evalaute siting proposals.