Offshore Wind

Offshore wind development faces many challenges, including agency and public concern about ecological impacts. WEST’s approach for tackling these challenges includes agency-approved survey protocols combined with rigorously designed field assessments and analytical tools for assessing ecological risk.

An ecological concern facing offshore wind energy project development is potential impacts to marine mammals and fisheries. Our biologists and statisticians have extensive experience designing projects and analyzing data, including surveys of marine mammals and large-scale fisheries, studies examining the effects of disturbance on marine mammal behavior, and comprehensive assessments of ecological and collision risk models that produce quantitative predictions of the likely collision fatality rates of federally listed species in offshore environments. WEST is at the forefront of utilizing new technologies, including machine learning/artificial intelligence, automated radar systems, high definition cameras, and acoustic monitoring devices.


Icebreaker Wind Aerial Survey Waterbird Report: October 16, 2017 – May 29, 2018 Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Jennifer H. Stucker, Jason D. Carlisle, Diem Pham, and Wallace P. Erickson

Collision Risk Model for “rufa” Red Knots (Calidris canutus rufa) Interacting with a Proposed Offshore Wind Energy Facility in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts
C. E. Gordon and C. Nations

Project Highlights

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Red Knot Offshore Wind

Wildlife collisions with the physical structures of offshore wind energy facilities can often be difficult to estimate. A WEST team recently produced a quantitative prediction model of the fatality rates of “rufa” red knots from collisions with an approved, but not yet built offshore wind energy project in the federal waters of Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts. The work was contracted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Our team developed an original simulation model containing the industry standard model (band) at its core but that also incorporated an unprecedented level of biological detail.