UD study assesses ocean use off Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey coasts

Mar 20, 2012 by Teresa Messmore
UD's Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration has issued a new report about ocean use, addressing viable places to locate offshore wind farms.

The Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration (CCPI) at the University of Delaware has issued a new report about ocean use off the coast of Delaware and parts of Maryland and New Jersey. The study addresses viable places to locate offshore wind farms, taking into account biological, ecological and other considerations. The report includes feedback from interested groups who attended a November 2011 workshop, as well as input from experts.

“This report demonstrates that the ocean is already active with ecological and human activity,” lead-author Alison Bates said. “It shows what government regulators ought to consider in planning for offshore wind development and the beginning of a way forward for offshore wind developers and existing users to accommodate one another.”

Fishing, shipping, cable crossings and recreation are among the human activities already taking place in ocean waters that affect marine ecosystems. As join that list, ocean users can anticipate and accommodate each other’s needs through marine spatial planning, a resource management approach to nature conservation.

Taking that track, UD researchers analyzed data from various sources on seabird activity, marine mammal and sea turtle migrations, wildlife habitat, potential wind speed, commercial shipping lanes, geologic features and fishing areas. They created maps relevant to each topic that can be integrated for future planning of ocean uses.

Areas in which offshore wind development is likely to highly conflict with existing uses are described, although areas that are specifically recommended for development are not identified. Co-author Kateryna Samoteskul indicated that this is “due to the early stage of the analysis and the need for additional stakeholder input prior to identifying the best sites for development.”

Co-author Jeremy Firestone added, “These results will aid the efforts of Delaware and neighboring states and direct initial proposals for locating new offshore wind projects.”

While NRG Bluewater Wind has postponed plans for an offshore wind development in Delaware waters for the near term, the company is still maintaining development rights and a similar project is feasible in the future. Federal and regional regulators could use the UD report to plan offshore wind sites with developers while balancing costs and a desire to minimize environmental impacts.

The report includes:

-- Descriptions of marine spatial planning projects in Europe;
-- Background on offshore wind projects in the United States;
-- Synthesis of existing data and identification of data gaps;
-- Maps on the distribution of whales, dolphins, sea turtles, corals and seabirds;
-- Shipping routes and traffic volume adjacent to potential offshore wind farm sites;
-- Maps of commercial and recreational fishing activity;
-- Geologic features that should be considered when siting of wind farms; and
-- Discussion of the transmission of wind-generated electricity back into the power grid.

Explore further: Researchers achieve 'holy grail' of battery design: A stable lithium anode

More information: The full report is available for download in PDF format at this CCPI link.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

U.S. clears path for offshore wind farms

Feb 13, 2012

Wind farms could soon be on the horizon for much of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Coast, both figuratively and literally. The Interior Department has completed a study examining how offshore wind development would affect the region, ...

New offshore turbine design to create and store energy

Sep 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- While many are taking to the oceans and trying to find the best ways to harness offshore wind and provide clean energy from renewable sources, the basic design of any wind turbine is that ...

Recommended for you

Economical and agile offshore construction ship

Jul 25, 2014

Siemens is currently installing the power supply and propulsion systems into a new multi-purpose offshore construction ship for Toisa Ltd. The ship, which is being built by the Korean company Hyundai Heavy ...

User comments : 0