APEM to conduct further surveys for Beacon Wind

In: Windfarms

Following an initial 12 months of digital aerial marine wildlife surveys, Beacon Wind has commissioned APEM Inc for a further 12 surveys.

Beacon Wind is an offshore wind project located 60 miles east of Montauk Point, New York and 20 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts in BOEM Lease OCS-A 0520. It is being developed by Equinor and bp through their 50/50 strategic partnership in the US.

Once complete, it is estimated that
Beacon Wind will provide power for over 1 million households in the US northeast from the 128,000-acre site. The initial phase of the project is due to commence commercial operation around 2028.

Beacon Wind commissioned APEM to design and deliver digital surveys to assess the abundance and distribution of birds, marine mammals, turtles, sharks, and rays present in the lease area over the course of a full year. The data from the surveys will provide the information required for conducting impact assessments and are consistent with the survey guidelines for providing avian, marine mammal, and sea turtle information for renewable energy development on the OCS.

In December 2019, APEM began a series of 16 surveys that were designed to capture data on the use of the area by all marine wildlife, including the threatened and endangered roseate tern (Sterna dougallii). During this time, 193,000 high resolution images were captured, of which 3,890 contained objects of interest e.g. examples of marine wildlife.

APEM’s approach to digital aerial surveys delivers industry leading high resolution 1.5cm pixel images using the latest camera technology, which is essential to ensure accurate species identification. Highly skilled image analysts identified upwards of 60 species during this time from all of the major marine megafauna groups.

The second year of surveys has now commenced and will run through October 2021 and continue to provide further baseline data of the lease area.

APEM Inc President Dr Stuart Clough said: “Empire Wind was APEM’s first developer project on the US east coast, so we are really pleased to have been retained to provide surveys for the Beacon Wind project using the same industry leading approach. Our grid-based survey design provides statistically robust abundance and distribution data across the whole of the lease area plus a buffer which will underpin the impact assessment process required for the construction and operations plan.”

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