Floating Offshore Wind Environmental Sensitivity Analysis

The waters of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf Region are rich in ecological resources. RPS evaluated potential stressors of floating offshore wind technology and developed a model to compare the environmental sensitivity of marine receptors offshore California and Hawaii. Our model illustrates the relative vulnerability of habitats and species in each region and the magnitude of potential impact. We developed a relational database and graphical user interface through which BOEM can view results and update the model with new data.

Timeline

  • 2016

    Start date

  • 2017

    In March 2017, the interim report for Task 1 (ID, Characterize Impact-Causing Factors) was completed.

  • 2017

    In October 2017, the interim report for Task 3 (Implement Refined RESA Model) was completed.

  • 2018

    In June 2018, the final study report, Final Database and GUI Delivery and Training Webinar for BOEM were presented.

    June 2018 also marked the completion of the project.

1 /04
2016

Start date

2017

In March 2017, the interim report for Task 1 (ID, Characterize Impact-Causing Factors) was completed.

2017

In October 2017, the interim report for Task 3 (Implement Refined RESA Model) was completed.

2018

In June 2018, the final study report, Final Database and GUI Delivery and Training Webinar for BOEM were presented.

June 2018 also marked the completion of the project.

Key Details

Project Name

Environmental Sensitivity and Associated Risk to Habitats and Species Offshore Central California and Hawaii from Offshore Floating Wind

Client

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)

Sector

  • Renewables

Location

  • Pacific Ocean, offshore California and Hawaii

Services Provided

  • Marine biology 
  • Directed studies 
  • Environmental impact assessment 
  • Literature review and desktop analysis 
  • Modelling  
  • Database management 
  • Web development 

Challenge

The wind energy industry is relatively young and since there were no large-scale floating offshore wind operations in place in the United States at the time of this work, RPS marine biologists undertook a challenging literature review to build a reliable knowledge base. The potential impacts of offshore wind on wildlife are difficult to study and are better understood in waters around Europe; thus, there are significant gaps in the literature for wind impacts on some North American marine species.

BOEM offshore 2 (NAM).jpg

Solution

RPS scientists collected and reviewed over 500 technical references to assess the behaviors and traits that could make a species vulnerable to offshore wind impacts and understand the knowledge gaps in the literature. RPS built a model framework of over 135 algorithms that is easily expandable, to allow BOEM to add new study areas in the OCS. 

Project Statistics

8
potential impact-causing factors identified for floating offshore wind
26
categorical ranking schemes developed to analyse species vulnerability
44
bird, bat, fish, invertebrate, marine mammal, and turtle species researched
135
different calculation steps in the model algorithms
500+
technical references reviewed, ranked, and compiled in the database