Vineyard Wind, U.S. offshore wind developer, agreed to take measures in order to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whales while installing and operating turbines at its proposed 84-turbine project 14 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. The agreement in favour of Whales and other mammal species, was between the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation and Conservation Law Foundation. The organisations wish that the agreement will provide a model for future offshore wind developments to follow.
- Turbine construction will be curtailed in the winter and early spring when the North Atlantic right whales may be in the area;
- There will be monitoring to make sure that the construction doesn’t take place when the whales are near the site;
- There will be no construction noise that disturbs the whales’ ability to communicate, find food or stay on their migratory path;
- Specific speed limits have been agreed, concerning vehicles passing through the area.
In addition, the Vineyard Wind is to invest $3 million to develop and deploy innovative technologies and undertake scientific research to further safeguard the marine mammals.
For the time being, only five offshore wind turbines are operating on the US Atlantic Coast. In general, the states aim to bring offshore wind power online. Mainly, these states have committed to develop 15GW of offshore wind power, enough to power five million homes.
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In November, Vineyard Wind announced it will be using MHI Vestas’ 9.5MW turbines for the project, that have the ability to generate enough power for 8,000 homes. The construction of the project is scheduled to begin in 2019.
When the project is completed, it will be able to generate 800 megawatts of electricity. This is enough power for more than 400.000 houses.
Vineyard by this project will be able to decrease the overall number of turbines from 106 to 84, reducing the project’s footprint up to 20%.
In 2018, Vineyard Wind acquired a second offshore wind lease area 30 miles south of Nantucket.