Offshore wind developer US Wind deployed a meteorological and oceanographic (metocean) buoy to collect wind and marine life data off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. Ocean Tech Services (OTS) will provide turn-key data services from the system, which include construction, testing, deployment and operations of the buoy and associated sensors.

US Winds install a meteorological buoy off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland on May 19, 2021. Credit: Gabriella Demczuk

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 let US Wind collect advanced environmental and wildlife data through sensors for monitoring bats, birds, fish and other marine mammals to determine their 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 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.”

Cleanly 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.

Baltimore City-based 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.

“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), an offshore wind port on the east coast, located at Sparrows Point. TPA’s facilities provided ideal accommodations for the safe and efficient assembly, port-side testing and load-out of the buoy and associated equipment, according to a press release.

“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 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.

News item from US Wind


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