Deepwater deal to protect whales

Deepwater Wind will provide extra protection for endangered right whales during construction of its proposed Deepwater ONE project off the US east coast.

Under an agreement with the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Natural Resources Defense Council and National Wildlife Federation, potential impacts on the whales and other marine mammals from underwater noise and construction vessels will be minimised during site characterisation and assessment activities.

“We take our responsibility to be a national leader in responsible offshore wind development very seriously, and ensuring marine mammals are protected is just one way we’re fulfilling our commitment,” says Deepwater chief executive Jeff Grybowski.

In July 2013, Deepwater acquired a 30-year lease to develop the utility-scale Deepwater ONE project in federal waters in Rhode Island Sound, off the Rhode Island-Massachusetts coast.

The lease area covers about 663sq km in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 50km east of Montauk, New York, and 27km south of Rhode Island.

Construction could begin as early as 2017, with commercial operation by 2018. Deepwater is hoping to sell an initial 200-250MW to Long Island electricity distribution company PSEG LIPA.

Tricia K Jedele, vice-president and director of CLF’s Rhode Island Advocacy Center, says: "We hope our collective work will be replicated nationally to help bring the economic and environmental benefits of clean, renewable offshore wind power to communities throughout the US without compromising vulnerable marine animals.”