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Standards Guide Offshore Wind Power as New Initiative Mitigates Harm to Endangered Whales

11/09/2022

A new strategy proposed by the Biden administration seeks to promote offshore wind power development along the Atlantic Coast while protecting an endangered species of whale.

Offshore wind energy development addresses climate change concerns and supports greater energy independence for the U.S., but some of the areas being developed off the East Coast overlap with the migratory routes of the North Atlantic right whale. With only about 340 of these whales in the world, this endangered creature is vulnerable to disturbance or injury by activity along its annual travel path from Georgia and Florida to New England and Canada. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management are seeking to mitigate this disturbance while promoting the development of offshore wind power by offering guidance to developers on navigating the regulatory process and reducing potential harm to North Atlantic right whales.

“As we face the ongoing challenges of climate change, this strategy provides a strong foundation to help us advance renewable energy while also working to protect and recover North Atlantic right whales, and the ecosystem they depend on,” said Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries.

With the protection of ecosystems in mind, offshore wind is a critical part of renewable energy development in the U.S. Standards guide offshore wind power to support its effectiveness, and the safety of the people who make it possible. ANSI/ACP OCRP-1-2022, Offshore Compliance Recommended Practices, Edition 2, provides information on the design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning, operation and service, decommissioning, and re-powering within the project life-cycle cycle of offshore wind farm assets that extract kinetic energy from wind, transmit electricity to shore-based grids, and/or store energy using facilities or devices located offshore or on land. This American National Standard (ANS) was developed by the American Clean Power Association (ACPA), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Measures that can be taken to minimize harm to whales include reductions to speed and noise. IEEE 1834-2019, IEEE Standard for Technology Supervision Code for Wind Turbine Rotor Systems, is a standard that provides details on the noise of wind systems. It guides the safe and economical operation of the rotor system of a wind turbine, which has the functions of transforming wind energy and balancing power, load, and noise. This standard was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer IEEE.

International standards also support offshore wind power, including:

As renewable energy sources expand, workforce development to support these initiatives is crucial. ANSI/ACP 5000-2-2022, Wind Technician Entry-Level Minimum Standard, is a competency standard that assists employers, workforce development and training professionals, academia, and others with minimum educational and training-related requirements. This ANS was developed by the ACPA.

Read more about efforts to increase offshore wind development while protecting North Atlantic right whales: Feds unveil plan to grow wind power while sparing rare whale.

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