U.S. Wind Developers Submit New England Wind Farm Layout Proposal

offshore wind farm
File photo shows a support vessel next to wind turbines at the Walney Extension offshore wind farm operated by Orsted off Britain September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

A consortium of offshore wind developers with leases off the U.S. Northeast coast has submitted their layout proposal to the United States Coast Guard.

The proposed layout calls for a uniform layout with 1 nautical mile (nm) spacing between wind turbines.

The leaseholders include Equinor, Mayflower Wind, Ørsted/Eversource, and Vineyard Wind.

The layout, according to the leaseholders, will allow mariners to safely transit from one end of the New England Wind Energy Area to the other without unexpected obstacles and addresses four key concerns highlighted in a public comment period, namely: navigational safety; the fishery community’s request for uniform spacing; creation of transit corridors; and facilitation of search and rescue. The leaseholders also submitted a report that analyzes the proposed layout using international vessel safety guidelines.

“This uniform layout is consistent with the requests of the region’s fisheries industry and other maritime users,” the companies said in a joint statement. “The proposed layout specifies that turbines will be spaced 1 nautical mile (nm) 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 USCG 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.”

The Fisheries Survival Fund denies they were consulted on the proposal and strongly opposes it.

“One nautical mile spacing between turbines neither allows for safe transit nor viable fishing, at least from the scallop fishery’s perspective,” the fund said in a statement. “Further, scallop fishermen neither transit nor fish based on east-west or north-south orientations. We fish on contours based on depth, and we transit on geographic diagonals to and from our fishing grounds. Simply put, we were not consulted on this proposal, have not supported this proposal in the past, and do not support it now.”