U.S. offshore renewable energy industry: Big brother is watching you

Mike Schuler
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August 3, 2011

The big brother of offshore, BOEMRE, today said that it has partnered with the National Research Council’s Marine Board to conduct a study on regulating worker safety in connection with the development of offshore renewable energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).  The project, to be completed by July 31, 2012, will play a key role in establishing worker safety requirements for offshore renewable energy operations.

“We are committed to ensuring that offshore energy development is conducted safely,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “The results of this study will enhance and enlarge our understanding of the potential risks faced by workers during construction and operation of renewable energy facilities on the OCS.”

The study aims to identify workplace risks involved in renewable energy operations, such as work performed in proximity to high-power electrical devices on offshore substations; use of elevators for wind turbines in highly corrosive environments; accessing turbine blades for repair; crane and diving operations during construction; and the use of carbon dioxide fire suppression systems in potentially manned areas. The study hopes to identify gaps in current regulations and make recommendations on additional areas of workplace safety regulation that are deemed necessary.

The Marine Board will solicit input from experts in the areas of worker safety regulation, offshore oil and gas operations and maintenance, offshore construction, wind turbine/plant design, operations and maintenance, and high-power electrical operations and maintenance.

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