The five companies holding leases in New England waters designated for offshore wind farms have announced a uniform turbine layout proposal to the United States Coast Guard that stipulates one-nautical-mile spacing between wind turbines.
Equinor, Mayflower Wind, Orsted/Eversource, and Vineyard Wind said in a joint statement issued on Tuesday that the proposal is in response to feedback from stakeholders.
“This uniform layout is consistent with the requests of the region’s fisheries industry and other maritime users,” the statement said. “The proposed layout specifies that turbines will be spaced one nautical mile apart, arranged in east-west rows and north-south columns, with the rows and columns continuous across all New England lease areas. In addition, independent expert analysis provided to the U.S.C.G. confirmed that this uniform layout would provide for robust navigational safety and search and rescue capability by providing hundreds of transit corridors to accommodate the region’s vessel traffic.”
“We look forward to continuing to work with the U.S.C.G., the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, coastal states, the fisheries industry, and other stakeholders involved to ensure continued coexistence of every ocean user in the region, including offshore wind.”
The proposal addresses four principal concerns, according to the statement: navigation safety, the fishing industry’s request for uniform and consistent spacing between turbines throughout the New England Wind Energy Area, the creation of distinct transit corridors, and the facilitation of search and rescue operations conducted by vessel and aircraft.
The leaseholders submitted a consultant-prepared report to the Coast Guard that analyzes the uniform layout using international vessel safety guidelines. The report, by W.F. Baird and Associates, found that most traffic in the region is transiting around, or along the outside edges of, the Wind Energy Area, that most transiting vessels are fishing vessels, and they follow a wide range of transit paths through the Wind Energy Area as they are coming from different ports and heading to various fishing grounds, that vessels up to 400 feet long can safely operate within the proposed layout and vessels over this length tend to follow existing traffic separation schemes already outside the area, and that a uniform layout will provide ample navigation transit corridors throughout the Wind Energy Area.