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.
Environmental Sensitivity and Associated Risk to Habitats and Species Offshore Central California and Hawaii from Offshore Floating Wind
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
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.
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.