Funding totalling $13.5 million (£9.88m) has been announced to provide critical environmental and wildlife data to support the sustainable development of offshore wind in the US.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is funding four projects that will inform wind siting, permitting and help protect wildlife and fisheries as deployment of offshore wind increases.
The investment supports a joint inter-agency goal to develop 30GW of offshore wind development by 2030 and the government’s 2050 net zero emissions goals.
While wind energy will provide significant national economic and environmental benefits, its development and operation may have impacts on the environment and wildlife which need to be assessed.
Projects supported include assessing the risk offshore wind development may pose to birds, bats and marine mammals and survey changes in commercial fish and marine invertebrate populations and seafloor habitats at an offshore wind development site.
In addition, a project will conduct visual surveys and acoustic monitoring of marine mammals and seabirds to develop predictive density maps of species in potential wind energy development areas on the West Coast and develop next-generation autonomous robotic technology for environmental monitoring of marine organisms and the seafloor.
Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “Harnessing the incredible potential that exists within offshore wind energy is an essential piece of reaching a net zero carbon future.
“In order for Americans living in coastal areas to see the benefits of offshore wind, we must ensure that it’s done with care for the surrounding ecosystem by co-existing with fisheries and marine life – and that’s exactly what this investment will do.”