NYSERDA Announces Contracts for Collecting Environmental and Metocean Data in Support of Offshore Wind Energy Development

31 Jan 2019

The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the execution of two multi-year contracts to study the meteorological and oceanographic (“metocean”) conditions in the waters off the Atlantic coast of New York, called the New York Bight. Executing this multi-year project advances and supports Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal, a nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda that puts New York on a path to carbon neutrality through a globally unprecedented ramp-up of renewable energy including an increase of New York’s offshore wind target to 9,000 megawatts by 2035, up from 2,400 megawatts by 2030.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "As New York works to become a national hub for offshore wind, access to better metocean and environmental data will further advance offshore wind projects in the most informed and responsible manner possible. Deploying this data collection technology will help protect the state’s coastal resources and marine environment and is a significant step towards meeting Governor Cuomo’s offshore wind and clean energy goals.” 

This announcement will result in metocean Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system(s) being mounted on buoys 20 miles from the shore in the New York Bight. LiDAR is remote sensing equipment that uses pulsed laser light to determine wind speeds. Each of the metocean buoys will be deployed for two years, potentially in multiple locations, to measure turbine hub-height wind speed and direction, wave and current measurements, as well as other environmental data. Better metocean characterization of the wind, wave, and ocean currents will also help increase certainty of development conditions which is valuable information for planning project layout, turbine siting and engineering.  More efficient design of offshore wind sites will help maximize renewable energy output, delivering more clean energy to the electric grid in a smaller physical and environmental footprint.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “This important initiative will provide essential information to better understand New York’s offshore resources and strategically tailor efforts to protect our economically important marine ecosystem. Offshore wind energy has the potential to provide our communities with a major source of clean and affordable electricity, supporting Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, and the data generated from this study will help ensure we responsibly develop this important resource.   

These sensors will provide data that will inform avian ecologists and marine biologists of the presence, frequency and distribution of birds, bats and marine mammals and will inform future environmental impact assessment studies for offshore wind. Environmental data is critical to understanding more about marine ecosystem function, timing and relative density of wildlife in the area, or underwater noise. Data collected will be made available to the public on an ongoing basis to encourage broad use and inform additional studies.

Contracts were awarded to:

  • Ocean Tech Services: Will serve as a Floating LiDAR System Supplier (FLSS) and will be focused on permitting, hardware, deployment, maintenance, and decommissioning the LiDAR system.
  • DNV GL: Will serve as the Data Management and Analysis Contractor (DMAC) with the primary focus on data analysis, data storage, and data presentation. 

Both companies will support the deployment of two floating LiDAR systems more than 20 miles off the Atlantic coast for a period of two years. The target date for deployment of both systems is May 2019 to begin collecting wind speed and direction within anticipated rotor swept zones, wave and current measurements, as well as other environmental data.  

“We are honored to be awarded this contract with NYSERDA, and look forward to providing and operating the advanced technology systems required by this campaign. By coupling lidar wind measurements and biological detection systems onto single buoy platforms, NYSERDA will be provided with a full suite of environmental assessment tools in an efficient and cost-effective package. This project award reflects a decade of effort by the Ocean Tech team towards advancing offshore wind along the U.S. east coast,” said Stephen O’Malley, President, Ocean Tech Services, LLC.

“DNV GL is pleased to work with NYSERDA to de-risk offshore wind power development, and contribute to lowering the cost of offshore wind power for the state of New York. By hosting the offshore wind data for industry stakeholders and the public on our Veracity platform we hope to advance the offshore wind industry by providing clarity and transparency into the industry,” said Richard Barnes, Executive Vice President for DNV GL Energy.  

NYSERDA | nyserda.ny.gov