Wind farm, environmentalists agree on ways to protect whales
- Jun 27, 2022 8:25 pm GMT
The agreement involving Orsted and Eversource — developers of South Fork Wind off the coast of
The agreement promotes the development of sustainable energy while protecting wildlife, said
“We don’t need to choose between clean energy development and wildlife protection, and this agreement shows how we can do both," she said.
There is estimated to be fewer than 340 North Atlantic right whales remaining, according to marine scientists. They are threatened by changing prey and habitat caused by climate change, entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes.
Under Monday's agreement, South Fork Wind will adopt monitoring measures to help ensure right whales are not close to the site during active construction. South Fork Wind will also work to reduce noises made by pile driving and implement a 10-knot speed limit for project-related vessels to cut the risk of vessel strikes.
“The vessel speed restrictions and adaptive management measures agreed to by South Fork Wind will go a long way toward protecting these whales from being injured or killed by project vessels,” said
South Fork Wind will also test newer technologies, such as thermal cameras and acoustic sensors that have the potential to track whale movement, gathering data that could be used in future projects.
“This agreement enhances our existing ability to protect marine life based on 30 years of experience building and operating offshore wind farms, while trialing new technologies that will further strengthen our ability to both combat the threat of climate change and build projects that coexist with our ecosystem,” said
The South Fork Wind project will be located about 19 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of
The project broke ground early this year and is expected to be operational late next year.
Developing offshore wind energy is a key policy of the Biden administration, which wants to wants to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 — enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes. Some in the commercial fishing industry have said planned offshore wind projects off the
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