Vineyard Wind Seeks Whale Protection Tech

Vineyard Wind is seeking proposals for Passive Acoustic Monitoring Systems (PAMS) to help safeguard endangered North Atlantic right whales alongside transit routes of its 800MW offshore wind project in Massachusetts, U.S.

In the call, Vineyard Wind is looking for technology companies or academic institutions to provide and operationalize the PAMS to detect the presence of right whales and transmit information to project staff.

The company said it expects the systems to send information about the location of whales in order to make sure vessel speed restrictions and other protective measures are effectively implemented.

The gathered information is also expected to be useful to scientists studying the right whale and other marine mammals, as well as help other mariners avoid impacts on the species.

According to Vineyard Wind, the North Atlantic right whale ranks among the world’s most endangered whale species, with an estimated 410 remaining, while vessel strikes and fishing gear entanglement are reported as being the leading causes of their mortality.

“Vineyard Wind has two goals with this initiative: First, to ensure best protections for the Right Whale as we go to build and operate the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind farm,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer for Vineyard Wind.

“Our second goal, which is equally important, is to help place the emerging US offshore wind industry on track to deliver the substantial volume of clean, competitive cost energy that our nation needs while expanding protections for this highly endangered whale.”

This latest initiative is said to be a direct result of an agreement Vineyard Wind signed with the National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council and Conservation Law Foundation on implementing protective measures for North Atlantic right whales.

The company said it will also curtail turbine construction during the winter and early spring when right whales are in the vicinity and will deploy measures to reduce underwater noise during the installation of foundations.

The Vineyard Wind project will feature MHI Vestas 9.5MW turbines located some 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The wind farm is expected to enter construction this year and be operational by 2021.

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