Vineyard Wind has entered into a collaborative agreement with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) to assess fisheries, which is expected to further public understanding of offshore wind development impacts.
The two parties will plan and conduct pre- and post-construction assessments of fisheries and associated ecological conditions, which will be used to inform future permitting and public policy decisions regarding offshore wind energy facility siting.
Beginning in spring 2018, SMAST staff will undertake a scoping exercise by soliciting input from fisheries’ representatives, policymakers, regulators and academics, which includes planning for assessment schedules, budgets and objectives.
The objective of this scoping exercise is to identify the research questions most relevant and important for understanding how offshore wind and the fishing industry can grow alongside each other in the years to come, the US developer said.
“The fishing industry has raised important questions about the impacts of offshore wind development on the marine environment and on sea life, and a comprehensive research effort is need to provide answers and identify possible solutions,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer at Vineyard Wind.
“Our goal in collaborating with the School for Marine Science and Technology is to use our project, which we expect to be the first large-scale offshore wind project in the US, to begin to establish a robust body of knowledge that will benefit the American offshore wind industry and the fishing community for decades to come.”
Vineyard Wind has provided initial funding for the beginning of the scoping process and has committed to contributing additional funding for complete pre- and post-construction assessments if it is selected by the Massachusetts Clean Energy judges to develop the offshore wind project.
In December 2017, Vineyard Wind submitted a proposal to deliver power generated by its 800MW offshore wind farm some 14 miles from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, shortly after it applied for federal and state construction permits.
By filing for construction permits, the company is on track to completing the permitting process in time to begin in-state construction in 2019, with the wind farm fully operational by 2021.