New York contracts for offshore wind energy studies

New York state energy officials announced they have contracts with Ocean Tech Services, Cape May, N.J., and Norway-based DVN GL for multi-year weather and oceanographic studies in offshore wind energy areas.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year said he wants to increase New York’s goal for offshore power to 9,000 megawatts by 2035, and the contractors will deploy meteorological and oceanographic (metocean) buoys to further planning by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

“Deploying this data collection technology will help protect the state’s coastal resources and marine environment and is a significant step towards meeting Governor Cuomo’s offshore wind and clean energy goals,” NYSERDA president and CEO Alicia Barton said in announcing the contracts.

Ocean Tech Services (OTS) will deploy buoys carrying Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems in the New York Bight, about 20 miles from shore, with a contract worth $4.2 million.

OTS has done similar work for wind energy developers off Martha’s Vineyard, N.Y., and is engaged in metocean studies for Ørsted’s Ocean Wind project off New Jersey. DNV GL will serve as data management and analysis contractor for the program for $363,700.

LiDAR is remote sensing equipment that uses pulsed laser light to determine wind speeds. The metocean buoys will be deployed for two years, potentially in multiple locations, to measure turbine hub-height wind speed and direction, wave and current measurements, along with other environmental data.

That detailed characterization of offshore wind, waves, and ocean currents will give planners more certainty of development conditions in the bight, in turn helping developers to plan future project layouts, turbine siting and engineering.

“More efficient design of offshore wind sites will help maximize renewable energy output, delivering more clean energy to the electric grid in a smaller physical and environmental footprint,” according to a NYSERDA statement.

Data from the buoys will also help avian ecologists and marine biologists who will study the numbers, frequency and distribution of birds, bats and marine mammals that pass through wind energy areas. Those findings will be important for future environmental impact assessments of proposed turbine arrays and how they may affect wildlife or generate underwater noise.

“Data collected will be made available to the public on an ongoing basis to encourage broad use and inform additional studies,” according to NYSERDA.

DNV GL will host the project data on its Veracity platform, to “advance the offshore wind industry by providing clarity and transparency into the industry,” said Richard Barnes, Executive Vice President for DNV GL Energy.

“By coupling LiDAR wind measurements and biological detection systems onto single buoy platforms, NYSERDA will be provided with a full suite of environmental assessment tools in an efficient and cost-effective package. This project award reflects a decade of effort by the Ocean Tech team towards advancing offshore wind along the U.S. east coast,” said OTS president Stephen O’Malley.

About the author

Kirk Moore

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been a field editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for almost 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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