The lead federal agency involved in the Block Island Wind Farm has embarked on a five-year study to examine the project’s environmental impact.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has already started collecting real-time data on sounds and seafloor vibrations, among other disturbances, caused by the wind farm’s construction.
“When you’re pounding in the monopoles that go into the ground for the wind turbines, they have to use big hammers to pound them into the ground, that creates noise,” said Rodney Cluck, BOEM’s chief of the Environmental Sciences Division. “Well, how loud is it? What are the decibel levels? Because you need to know the decibel levels and you need to know that physics before you can know the impacts on a whale for example.”
Cluck said the study will also evaluate the tools used to monitor the project.
“We’ll understand what we don’t need to study, what we do need to study or monitor, and for how long, to ensure that the industry can operate in a safe manner,” said Cluck.
He said the data will be critical to evaluate future offshore wind projects.
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