Maryland monitors marine mammals

In: Windfarms
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has complied the results of surveys to describe marine mammal presence, distribution and seasonality within the proposed Maryland Wind Energy Area (WEA) off Ocean City.

Scientists from the Universities of Maryland and Cornell deployed underwater microphones to record the ambient noise levels and marine mammal calls between 2014 and 2017. The large whales (fin, humpback, minke, and North Atlantic right whale) and harbour porpoises were mainly detected from November to April. Dolphins were most common from April to October within and inshore of the WEA, whereas they tended to occur more frequently further away from December to May. The results will help inform regulators so that appropriate protection and mitigation measures can be developed.

Earlier this year, the state of Maryland enacted the Clean Energy Jobs Act which aims to increase the state’s current renewable energy targets from 25% by 2020 to 50% by 2030. Under the act, the state would also be required to investigate the feasibility of increasing this target to 100% by 2040. Under the new legislation, new offshore wind farm allocations are to be executed supporting 400 MW operational by 2026, increasing to 800 MW by 2028 and 1,200 MW by 2030. Maryland is expected to launch its second offshore wind solicitation, in which projects will seek to qualify Offshore Renewable Energy Credits (ORECs), in January 2020.

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