$1.3M available for surveys of New York Bight offshore wind areas

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has made available nearly $1.3 million to support redevelopment data collection in the New York Bight Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) to facilitate responsible offshore wind development.

Through a competitive solicitation, NYSERDA seeks to identify contractors to develop acoustic and oceanographic surveys to collect and analyze field data and conduct site assessment in the wind energy areas.

Source: BOEM

The data will help New York better understand marine mammal presence, habitat use, distribution and seasonal movement, as well as the oceanographic characteristics associated with marine wildlife and the New York Bight’s Cold Pool, a layer of cold water that forms annually that is said to be vital to the lifecycle of many marine species, including commercial fisheries.

According to NYSERDA, these surveys will provide critical information to developers, regulators and stakeholders which will improve the understanding of the marine environment, reduce project risk, help inform construction windows and permits and accelerate project timelines.

The solicitation seeks proposals supporting an autonomous vehicle that will collect physical and biological data in the WEAs during key seasonal periods and/or a network of bottom-mounted passive acoustic monitors that will record marine mammal presence within the areas.

The surveys will commence in 2022, with the data expected to be made publicly available in 2023 through a platform to be identified by the winning proposer(s).

The deadline to apply is 10 January 2022 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

“Data collected through this process will help avoid risks to marine life while providing critical information on marine activity, and will enable us to work even more effectively with partners, stakeholders, and developers to make informed decisions as we build our essential offshore wind industry,” said Doreen M. Harris, president and CEO of NYSERDA.

In addition, NYSERDA will be redeploying a metocean buoy within the New York Bight to continue collecting important data that can be provided to offshore wind developers sooner than when they can conduct their own data collection.

The buoy will collect and make publicly available investment-grade information about wind, wave and ocean currents, as well as wildlife data to fill data gaps and reduce uncertainty in the temporal and spatial use of the offshore region by wildlife. 

NYSERDA believes these predevelopment data collection activities will position New York State for strong responses from developers securing leases in the upcoming anticipated federal offshore wind lease area auction in early 2022.

To remind, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) identified new priority wind energy areas in the New York Bight at the beginning of the year, covering nearly 800,000 acres of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast.

In August, the draft environmental assessment (EA) for the lease areas was made available. BOEM plans to kick off the lease sale by the end of the year or in early 2022.