Vineyard Wind enters collaboration to use marine mammal detection system

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 17/11/2022 Vineyard Wind

Vineyard Wind and Charles River Analytics announced a new collaboration aimed at further protecting marine mammals during the construction of the
Vineyard Wind 1 project. As part of the effort, Vineyard Wind will employ Awarion technology for marine mammal, ship, and fishing gear detection. The technology is being provided by Charles River Analytics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research and development firm.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Charles River Analytics to advance local technologies focused on reducing the risk of vessel collision with marine fauna,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus S. Moeller. “This partnership is being supported with funding from the Innovations Marine Mammals Program, which was created by Vineyard Wind to enable the development and demonstration of innovative methods and technologies to enhance protections for marine mammals as the Massachusetts and US offshore wind industry grows.”

Awarion is an artificial intelligence and computer vision system that is designed to complement and support human lookouts and marine radar systems. The technology uses electro-optical and infrared video to detect, analyze, and report on the presence of whales, ships, and other objects, including fishing buoys and equipment, at long distances.

“The knowledge we’ve gained through working with marine mammal experts at the New England Aquarium and veteran mariners has been incorporated into this technology,”
said Ross Eaton, Principal Scientist and Director of Marine Systems at Charles River Analytics. “Awarion™ is a ‘win-win’ for our team in that it combines marine science and cutting-edge technology that will have a positive impact on the natural environment.”

“Object detection and avoidance are critical to the successful construction, operation, and maintenance of offshore wind projects,” said Elaine B. Coleman, Ph.D., Vice President of Commercialization at Charles River Analytics. “In addition to vessels and fishing gear, Awarion™ is uniquely designed to aid Protected Species Observers’ (PSOs) efforts to detect and protect the area’s marine mammals.”

Vineyard Wind is being developed by a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). The project is an 800 MW wind farm to be installed 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. It is poised to be the first commercial scale offshore wind project in the United States. The project is expected generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

It will feature 62 of GE renewable Energy's 13 MW Haliade-X turbines. Power will come ashore via and offshore substation and export cables making landfall at Covell's Beach for integration into national grid using an onshore substation.
The wind farm is expected to begin delivering clean energy to Massachusetts in 2023.

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