The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has selected five multiyear projects that will further study environmental and commercial fishing topics in support of responsibly developing offshore wind.
The projects, totaling more than $2 million, are as follows:
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory with the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) and others – Collaborative Development of Strategies and Tools to Address Commercial Fishing: A two-year, $500,000 project to address the need to understand and develop solutions for safe and efficient access to fishing grounds, while also ensuring that offshore energy projects meet their operational goals.
- RODA – Creation of a “Data Trust” for Effective Inclusion of Fishermen’s Knowledge in Offshore Wind Energy Decision-Making: A one-year, nearly $300,000 project to develop high-quality, evidence-based science products that can improve decision-making for offshore wind development, with additional benefits for ecosystem-based assessment and fisheries stock assessment and management.
- Biodiversity Research Institute – Multi-Scale Relationships Between Marine Predators and Forage Fish: A three-year, nearly $500,000 project designed to better understand the linkages between forage fish and seabirds and implications of offshore wind development on seabird behaviors and distribution.
- Ecology and Environment – Environmental and Fisheries Research for Offshore Wind: An 18-month, $500,000 project to develop spatially and temporally dynamic information about the distribution of oceanographic characteristics in the New York Bight through the development and application of a dedicated, multiyear 3D flow model of wildlife distribution movements.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Development of Monitoring Protocols for Nanotag Studies at Offshore Wind Farms: A two-year, nearly $300,000 project to develop standardized guidelines to inform the use of miniature, digitally coded VHF (very high frequency) transmitters to monitor birds and bats in relation to offshore wind energy development.
These projects advance Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal goal of 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035, as codified under the recently signed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Last month, Cuomo also announced the winners of New York’s first comprehensive wind solicitation – the Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind projects – totaling nearly 1.7 GW.
“As New York becomes the national epicenter for the U.S. offshore wind industry, we continue to undertake evidence-based environmental and commercial fishing-related research to help us advance offshore wind development in way that is sensitive to the environment, ocean and the economy,” says Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “These projects expand our efforts to mitigate potential impacts of offshore wind energy development and will help protect the state’s coastal resources and marine environment, ensuring these resources can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
NYSERDA’s efforts to analyze and collect new offshore environmental data began in 2017, via digital aerial surveys of birds, marine mammals, sharks and fish shoals. This three-year survey concluded this past spring after collecting more than 3.5 million images across the New York Bight. This survey was one of more than 20 studies NYSERDA has undertaken to provide current information about potential environmental and social sensitivities, economic and practical considerations, and regulatory requirements associated with offshore wind energy development, identified under New York’s Offshore Wind Master Plan. These newly selected projects support independent research to build upon this scientific and technical foundation by further addressing environmental, maritime, economic and social issues, says NYSERDA.
Research conducted as a result of these projects will include stakeholder engagement, and the results will be made available to the public to encourage broad use and inform additional studies.
Basil Seggos, commissioner of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), says, “As New York continues its national leadership role in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and fighting climate change through renewable energy, DEC commends Governor Cuomo and NYSERDA for funding environmental and fisheries research initiatives that will ensure offshore wind is developed in a responsible manner. These projects will help foster the development of offshore renewable technologies while continuing to protect our state’s invaluable ocean resources and fishing community.”