US Wind Inc., a Maryland-based offshore wind energy development company, says it has deployed a meteorological and oceanographic (metocean) buoy to collect wind and marine life data off the coast of Ocean City, Md.

Ocean Tech Services LLC (OTS) has been engaged to provide turnkey data services from the system, which include 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 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. Subsets of the metocean observations will be posted publicly on US Wind’s website.

“The deployment of our metocean buoy is a critical milestone in our commitment to help Maryland meet its renewable energy goals,” says Jeff Grybowski, CEO of US Wind. “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.”

The buoy deployment was staged out of Tradepoint Atlantic (TPA), an East Coast offshore wind port located at Sparrows Point, Md. TPA’s facilities provided ideal accommodations for the safe and efficient assembly, port-side testing, and load-out of the buoy and associated equipment.

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) 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.

Cleanly powered by solar panels and wind turbines, along with an onboard fuel cell and battery backup system, the buoy will be deployed within the lease area for two years.

Photo: MarWin’s project map

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