Community Offshore Wind Signs Agreement with NOAA for First-of-Its-Kind Marine Monitoring & Research Partnership to Promote New Offshore Wind Environmental Principles

Community Offshore Wind is the first offshore wind developer to sign a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) / The 5-year formal partnership sets a new industry standard, allowing federal experts to have early input in planning environmental monitoring of offshore wind development for the first time and increase transparency between researchers and developers / The collaboration will transform environmental monitoring for offshore wind projects and create more responsible development of offshore wind to support the conservation of marine life and ecosystems and fishing communities

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

Community Offshore Wind, a joint venture between RWE and National Grid Ventures, today announced a groundbreaking five-year partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to promote the exchange of data and expertise that will transform environmental monitoring for offshore wind projects.

Community Offshore Wind's collaboration with NOAA sets a new industry standard to increase transparency and share expertise between researchers and developers. For the first time, an offshore wind developer and NOAA will collaborate on how to study environmental impacts on the marine ecosystem to inform the responsible development of offshore wind projects. The partnership reflects Community Offshore Wind’s dedication to environmental stewardship and the protection of marine life.

The CRADA 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 long-term partnership is focused on continued collaboration over the lifetime of Community Offshore Wind’s project. This agreement will complement NOAA’s ongoing environmental monitoring research with additional data, as offshore wind development activity continues across the region.

“Through this initiative, Community Offshore Wind is taking a proactive lead in working with federal researchers to develop our project responsibly. The scientific data collected through our environmental monitoring program will be invaluable as we continue to study, and seek to mitigate, the impacts of offshore wind development on marine ecosystems,” said Doug Perkins, President and Project Director of Community Offshore Wind. “Community Offshore Wind looks forward to collaborating with NOAA to design marine wildlife monitoring programs that are thoughtfully informed and scientifically sound and support existing regional scientific assessments.

“With help from a number of collaborators and the fishing industry, our agency maintains some of the world’s most comprehensive data sets on large marine ecosystems,” said Jon Hare, Director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. “Our goal is to bring offshore wind energy monitoring activities into this partnership. This agreement is our first chance to make these partnerships a reality and show by example that effective scientific monitoring benefits everyone.”

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 CRADA will help facilitate regional approaches to scientific monitoring. The offshore wind industry has a vital role not only in the clean energy transition, but in supporting the future of marine conservation and regional science. 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 thoroughly with regional fisheries to identify concerns and develop opportunities to achieve successful outcomes. This agreement is the latest proactive step taken by Community Offshore Wind 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.

Community Wind
Press Office
Community Wind, USA; wind farm, joint venture, offshore, New York, NOAA, fisheries, National Grid Ventures, RWE, data, seabed, environment

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