Maryland-based offshore wind developer US Wind, Inc. (US Wind) has announced the deployment of a meteorological and oceanographic (metocean) buoy to collect wind and marine life data off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland.
Ocean Tech Services, LLC (OTS) has been engaged to provide turnkey data services from the system, including construction, testing, deployment, and operations of the buoy and associated sensors. The Floating Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) buoy uses an eye-safe, continuous wave laser to measure wind speeds and direction across the turbine height. These measurements, along with surface meteorology and ocean condition observations, will help inform US Wind’s energy production estimates and overall project design.
The buoy will also allow US Wind to collect an array of advanced environmental and wildlife data through sensors that enable the monitoring of bats, birds, fish, and other marine mammals to determine the presence, frequency, and distribution within the lease area.
“The deployment of our metocean buoy is a critical milestone in our commitment to help meet Maryland’s renewable energy goals,” said Jeff Grybowski, US Wind CEO. “The data collected will advance our understanding of wind and wildlife patterns in our lease area to inform the most environmentally responsible and efficient design, project layout, and turbine siting.”
Powered by solar panels and wind turbines, along with an onboard fuel cell and battery back-up system, the buoy will be deployed within the lease area for two years.
“Ocean Tech Services is excited to work with US Wind during the site assessment phase of the Maryland wind energy area development,” said Stephen O’Malley, President of Ocean Tech Services. “As a locally-based service provider, OTS brings the experience, personnel and equipment required to successfully complete the offshore data collection campaign.”
Baltimore City-based, family-owned and operated Moss Marine USA coordinated all local logistics for the work done at Tradepoint Atlantic. Chelsea Moss, founder of Moss Wind USA, a woman-owned Maryland business, served as on-site facilitator.
“I’ve been a long-time supporter of offshore wind development for several reasons, including the numerous business opportunities it provides to marine contractors like me,” said Michael Moss, Owner/ Operator, Moss Marine USA. “We truly appreciate the opportunity to support US Wind on the metocean buoy campaign and look forward to providing assistance with US Wind’s efforts to build out their lease area in whatever way possible.”
“Having visited Denmark and witnessing the success of offshore wind overseas, I am extremely proud and inspired to be a member of the LiDAR project team, helping US Wind gain the information they need to develop the MarWin project,” said Chelsea Moss, Founder of Moss Wind USA. “This is a very exciting time to be working in offshore wind, especially for small, women- and minority-owned businesses in Maryland. I look forward to seeing turbines off Maryland’s coast upright and turning.”
The buoy deployment was staged out of Tradepoint Atlantic (TPA), located at Sparrows Point, MD. TPA’s facilities provided accommodations for the assembly, port-side testing, and load-out of the buoy and associated equipment.
“The deployment of US Wind’s LiDAR Bouy represents another step forward for offshore wind in Maryland, and further demonstrates that Baltimore and Tradepoint Atlantic continue to be the ideal hub for offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic,” said Russell Williams, Director of Offshore Wind Development for Tradepoint Atlantic.
US Wind acquired an 80,000-acre federal lease area off of the coast of Maryland in 2014. In 2017, the company was awarded Offshore Renewable Energy Credits (ORECs) from the State of Maryland for the first phase of its MarWin project.
In total, the company’s lease area can support approximately 1.5 GW of offshore wind energy capacity. In 2019, Maryland passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which increased the state’s offshore wind energy requirements, calling for an additional 1.2 GW to be procured from developers with projects near the state’s coast.