Offshore surveys starting at Shell & Ocean Winds’ lease area off Massachusetts

Furgo, using its vessel Fugro Explorer, will perform a geotechnical survey campaign at the SouthCoast Wind lease area offshore Massachusetts, formerly known as Mayflower Wind, where the joint venture between Shell and Ocean Winds plans to install up to 2.4 GW of offshore wind capacity. A geophysical site investigation is also scheduled to start soon.

SouthCoast Wind

The geotechnical survey, set to start in mid-April and run until mid-July, will be carried out to study seabed conditions in the offshore wind lease area and provide details on the soil conditions for the wind turbine and offshore substation platform foundations.

Borehole samples will be collected utilising technology that helps to minimise disturbances to the seabed and environmental monitors will be participating during the survey work to watch for the presence of marine mammals and other aquatic life, and to implement protective mitigation measures where needed.

The SouthCoast Wind joint venture says that it is also working closely with local fisheries over the duration of the survey work to avoid any disruptions to their operations.

Surveys in the wind lease area off Massachusetts have been ongoing since 2019 and this survey represents the project’s fourth geotechnical campaign. Previous surveys have found favourable conditions for operating safely and sustainably in the lease area, according to SouthCoast Wind.

“Kicking off this year’s survey work is an important activity for our project”, said Jennifer Flood, Permitting Director, SouthCoast Wind. “The site-specific technical data collected will enable us to advance engineering and design solutions for the project while minimizing environmental effects within the lease area”.

The SouthCoast Wind lease area is located south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, where up to 147 offshore wind turbines are planned to be installed.

The joint venture has already developed two projects in the lease area, the 405 MW Mayflower Wind and the 804 MW Mayflower Wind 2, which were merged last year and renamed into SouthCoast Project. The two already-developed offshore wind projects will make up for the first 1.2 GW of the total 2.4 GW SouthCoast Project.

The federal permitting process at the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) started in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the federal agency just recently issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the SouthCoast Wind project.

The first two offshore wind farms developed at the lease area were selected by the Massachusetts State to deliver clean electricity to the grid through state offshore wind solicitations over the past few years. The developers also already have power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed with Massachusetts utilities for the first 1.2 GW.