During a week when the impact of offshore wind projects on the ocean has come into question by some, Community Offshore Wind — a joint venture between RWE Renewables and National Grid — launched its geophysical survey campaign to study seabed conditions within the project lease area and potential export cable corridors in the New York Bight.
The data collected will help inform safe and responsible project design and engineering, identifying potential geohazards and obstructions, as well as benthic habitats and archaeological resources, the group said.
The survey work, managed by Fugro, started this week and will continue through summer 2023 with two vessels. Community Offshore Wind has collaborated closely with Fugro on the project phasing to accelerate the overall development process. Key to this approach is Fugro’s use of advanced survey technology that can accurately and safely operate in winter sea conditions.
The Community Offshore Wind team is working closely with area fisheries to prevent the disruption of commercial and recreational fishing over the course of the survey’s duration. Local commercial fishermen will be on board the survey vessels to manage communication and coordinate with fishing fleets. Prior to the start of the survey, one of Community Offshore Wind’s fisheries representatives, a commercial fisherman from Barnegat Light, scouted the area for fishing gear and other potential obstructions.
The impact of Offshore Wind energy projects on the environment has come under question this week after six whales washed up dead on the Jersey Shore.
There is no evidence that their deaths were linked to offshore wind projects, but some are asking for more study.
Community Offshore Wind said maintaining safety and communication are the highest priorities for Community Offshore Wind during the survey. All survey vessels are subject to rigorous Health, Safety & Environment screening and all project staff will follow the guidance documented in the Health and Safety Plan prepared for this survey.
“The start of the site survey is an important milestone for the project,” said Doug Perkins, president and project director, Community Offshore Wind. “The technical data collected will help us develop a more responsible and cost-effective project design. Our success relies on communication, safety and collaboration with other parties out on the water.”