The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) ($496,688), the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management ($200,000), and BOEM ($400,000) announced the grants earlier in May.

These will be the first studies in the US and will conduct important research on recreational and commercial fisheries, seabed habitat, and comparable offshore wind policies in Europe, to advance the assessment of the interactions between offshore wind development and fisheries in the northeast.

The program focuses on three priority areas of research:

  • fishery resource studies,
  • seafloor habitat studies, and
  • technical studies.

In particular, the five studies will generate important information and data during the pre-construction period for the region’s first offshore wind projects, and will help establish baseline datasets on fisheries and seabed habitat. The studies will also advance new and uniform methodologies for ongoing data collection and analysis.

The studies announced today will help ensure BOEM has sufficient baseline information to support its environmental assessments of offshore wind projects on the Atlantic OCS,

...said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank.

In addition, they are expected to pave the way for meeting Rhode Island’s renewable energy goals and advancing climate mitigation efforts, explained Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit.

The studies will be managed by MassCEC in coordination with BOEM, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and Massachusetts and Rhode Island fishery resource agencies.

Offshore wind presents an opportunity to develop an abundant amount of clean, renewable energy while creating jobs and economic opportunity in coastal communities. By taking a proactive, comprehensive approach to environmental monitoring and data collection, we can position the offshore wind industry to realize a more efficient approach to development,

...said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike.