Documents filed under Offshore Wind
In Europe, the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Atlantic hold more than 85 percent of existing offshore wind capacity. In total there are now 110 offshore wind facilities with over 5000 wind turbines in European waters representing 12,000 MW. Under EU-27, the European Commission expects at least 60,000 MW of operating offshore wind by 2030 and up to 300,000 GW in 2050. In this document recently adopted by the European Parliament, there is a clear recognition of land-use conflicts arising from energy development offshore particularly with regard to fishing. The member states lay out the risks and demands for more research and stress that offshore wind facilities "should only be built if the exclusion of negative environmental and ecological, as well as economic, socio-economic and socio-cultural impacts on fishers and aquaculture producers is guaranteed" and urges Member States to "continue working on the development and usage of other forms of renewable energy." A portion of the document is provided be low. The full document can be accessed at the document links on this page.
The US Department of the Interior issued a detailed memo on December 14 2020 stating that the US Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act prohibits offshore wind approvals if a project interferes with fishing. By April 9, 2021 the Biden administration reversed this finding. The competing letters can be downloaded from this page or from the document links.
The testimony of Robert Scott that is accessible from this page describes the possible visual impacts of the Skipjack offshore wind energy facility proposed for off the coast of Maryland. The developers of the Skipjack facility are proposing to use the Haliade-X1 twelve-megawatt turbines. According to Mr. Sullivan, the Haliade-X turbines are 70% larger than the turbines that were originally proposed for the site and for which a permit was granted. The turbines will be visible to the unaided eye at distances greater than 36 statute miles, with turbine blade movement visible up to 29 statute miles, and often visible at 24 statute miles. Mr. Sullivan's testimony was provided to the Maryland PSC on behalf of Ocean City, MD. Mr. Sullivan's full testimony can be downloaded by clicking on the document links on this page.
In a letter from the Mayor of Ocean City, Rick Meehan, to the Maryland Public Service Commission the Mayor highlights the objections to wind turbines built off the coast of the Ocean City and the visual impacts of the turbines. The letter states that "The Town of Ocean City while in support for clean energy in Maryland, has opposed the size and location of the wind turbines. As the size of the turbines has increased, so has our concern for the visual impact they will have on our community and our property values.” In response to the size of the windmills now being proposed, the letter further said, “In order to avoid the destruction of our natural view forever and the negative impact on our community, the Town of Ocean City is insisting these turbines be moved at least 33 miles from shore.” The Mayor's letter can be accessed by clicking the document links on this page.
The page includes a legal challenge of the Department of Energy’s and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ funding and authorization of the Icebreaker Wind Project, a first-of-its-kind proposed offshore wind energy facility in Lake Erie with a price tag in excess of $40 million that is expressly intended to spur future development of offshore industrial wind energy in the Great Lakes Region and beyond. A portion of the complaint is provided below. The full complaint can be accessed from the document link(s) on this page.
The attached letter written by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds raises their concerns over Hornsea Project Three, an offshore wind project located in the North Sea. New information has arisen indicating that the project will adversely effect the breeding grounds of the gannet, kittiwake, and black-backed gull populations and negatively impact the integrity of the Flamborough and Filey Coast SPA. The Royal Society urges the Secretary of State to extend the deadline for the project's development order to consider this new information and recommends that alternative energy solutions be explored.
The attached report by the Connecticut Commission on Environmental Standards provides recommendations to offshore wind developers in mitigating potential risks to the area's wildlife, fishing industry, and water navigation systems. The Commission urges developers to conduct assessments on potential impact areas and provide funding to offset economic and environmental losses.
This paper examines the risks and liabilities of decommissioning offshore wind energy facillties and the lack of regulatory oversight needed to ensure proper planning for taking the turbines down and restoring the site to its orginal state.
This letter by US NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Administrator Mike Pentony raises serious concerns regarding the impacts of the 800 MW Vineyard Wind offshore wind facility proposed off the coast of Massachusetts. Concerns center on impacts to New England’s fisheries, marine life, and ocean habitats. The letter was sent to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and provides comment on the project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). A portion of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be downloaded from the document links on this page.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission issued this order approving Dominion's proposal to construct a 2-turbine, 12 megawatt wind energy facility 27-miles off the coast of Virginia. The project has a price tag of $300 million. The SCC made clear in its order that it had no choice but to approve the project given current state statutes. However, the approval, according to the SCC's order, was contrary to what it deemed prudent as that term has been applied by this Commission in its long history of public utility regulation. The SCC bowed to the legislative mandate by approving the project. A portion of the order is posted below. The full order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The new report prepared by economics professor Gordon Hughes, a former advisor to World Bank, Dr Capell Aris, a fellow of the IET, and Dr John Constable of the Global Warming Policy Forum, explains how the broad assumption that offshore wind prices are falling is not valid. Through a detailed statistical analysis of the data, covering 86 wind farms, the authors found that capital cost of offshore wind (£/MWh installed) is actually rising as a consequence of companies moving into deeper and deeper waters. The summary of the report is provided below. The full report can be downloaded from this page.
This important research identified that migrating raptor species tend to be attracted to offshore wind turbines and that the risk of colliding with wind turbines at sea is much greater than previously assumed. The abstract and resulting discussion of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be downloaded by clinking the links on this page.
This paper argues that the methods and data used when estimating effects of offshore wind turbines on seabird population rates and the potential impacts on seabird populations are grossly inadequate. As a result, Environmental Impact Assessments cannot solely be relied on to report risks. The conclusions cited in the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This research examines the impact of offshore wind power projects on beach recreation on the East Coast of the United States. Data was collected from a 2015 online survey of 2,051 randomly drawn residents over 20 states on the east coast. The data were stratified to oversample beachgoers, but included non-beachgoers as well. Respondents were shown visual simulations of offshore wind power projects as they would have appeared on a beach they recently visited and were asked how their presence would have affected their beach trips. A summary of the findings is provided below. The full report can be accessed by selecting the document links on this page.
This paper reports on research that looked at wind data collected offshore along the Northeast Unitied States. The paper's main finding is that atmospheric conditions around Cape Wind are predominantly turbulent, or unstable, which is very different from prevailing data from European offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Wind conditions at Cape Wind were shown to be unstable between 40 and 80 percent of the time, depending on season and time of day, The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed from the links on this page.
A Massachusetts state board has issued a draft decision denying the extension of permits that would enable Cape Wind to build an electricity transmission line to connect its proposed offshore wind farm to land. The draft decision offers an informative discussion of the now historical events leading to the denial. The full decision can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study (ACPARS) Workgroup prepared this final report that examines the various conflicts between shipping and other emerging coastal and offshore energy projects. Two portions of the report are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Benjamin Riggs, the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association and others filed this complaint in Federal Court pertaining to the approval of an above-market power contract between Deepwater Wind and National grid. The plaintiffs initially pursued this matter before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”). However FERC chose not to act on it itself but rather to refer the matter to the courts. Consequently they ruled that “Our decision not to initiate an enforcement action means that Mr. Riggs may himself bring an enforcement action against the Rhode Island Commission in the appropriate court”. By law, that is federal court. The current action is limited to asking the federal government to assert its clear authority over the pricing mechanism for the Deepwater project. The complaint, a portion of which appears below, speaks for itself. The full complaint can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. In addition, the plaintiffs filed the attached Memorandum that explains the Motion for Summary Judgment.
Scientists at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews tracked 24 harbor seals and their behavior while offshore wind turbines were being installed on the east coast of England, in 2012. They predicted that half of the seals tracked received sound levels from pile driving that exceeded auditory damage thresholds. The results have implications for offshore industry and will be important for policymakers developing guidance for pile driving. A summary of the findings is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This case arises following the approval of a lease by the U.S. Department of Interior to Cape Wind Associates for construction of an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Under the lease, Cape Wind must obtain the Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) determination whether the turbines pose a hazard to air navigation and comply with any mitigation measures before beginning construction. In Town of Barnstable, Mass. v. FAA, 659 F.3d 28 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (“Barnstable I”), the court held that the “no hazard” determinations in 2010 for each of the wind turbines in a 25–square mile area of Nantucket Sound were “inadequately justified.” Id. at 31. Petitioners now challenge the no hazard determinations in 2012 as similarly deficient for failing to analyze the safety risks posed by the project and to perform an environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4332. The court denies the petitions for review regarding the 2012 FAA determinations due to changes in radar technology and new FAA studies and analysis.