Community Offshore Wind Signs Agreement with NOAA

Source: Community Offshore Wind
Source: Community Offshore Wind

Community Offshore Wind is the first offshore wind developer to sign a cooperative research and development agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Community Offshore Wind, a joint venture between RWE and National Grid Ventures, says the move reflects its dedication to environmental stewardship and the protection of marine life.

The five-year formal partnership allows federal experts to have early input in planning environmental monitoring of offshore wind development and increases transparency between researchers and developers.

The agreement creates a framework for developers and federal experts to work together from the start to accurately assess and monitor potential impacts of offshore wind development on marine ecosystems, seeking, to address two core areas:

Development of a responsible environmental monitoring program: Community Offshore Wind is required to create and implement an environmental monitoring program as part of the development of its offshore wind projects in the New York Bight. Through direct collaboration with NOAA, Community Offshore Wind will be able to create an industry-leading monitoring program that can support a regional approach to scientific monitoring. New data and monitoring innovations generated through the agreement will ensure that our projects are developed in a more responsible and environmentally-conscious way.

Improving the Benefits of Environmental Data: The partnership aims to ensure that relevant data collected through offshore wind monitoring efforts can be seamlessly integrated into existing regional scientific assessments the federal government conducts for fisheries, habitat, and protected resources like sea turtles and marine mammals. This will enable Community Offshore Wind’s monitoring program to augment NOAA Fisheries surveys and assessments, supporting the implementation of important elements of the NOAA/BOEM Federal Survey Mitigation Strategy. This integrated approach is expected to improve the overall quality of environmental data collected in the region to provide for more informed decision-making and sustainable management of marine resources.

The central location and size of Community Offshore Wind’s lease area in the New York Bight region offshore will allow the findings to be applied more regionally and the agreement will help facilitate regional approaches to scientific monitoring. Community Offshore Wind and NOAA plan to organize workshops and other engagement opportunities to involve regional stakeholders and scientific collaborators in the research process.

Since acquiring its lease area in 2022, Community Offshore Wind has engaged with regional fisheries to identify concerns and develop opportunities to achieve successful outcomes. This agreement is the latest proactive step taken, it says, to support regional fisheries and environmental science, and is responsive to feedback received through ongoing, direct engagement with the fishing industry, researchers, and fishery managers.

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