Renewables, Wind

Deepwater Wind Installs Wildlife Tracking Station on Offshore Block Island Wind

By Editors of Power Engineering

Block Island Wind Farm isn’t just the first offshore wind facility in the United States – it’s also become a wildlife tracking station.

The station, installed by Deepwater Wind on the easternmost foundation platform at Block Island, contains four antennas and a receiver that collects data on the migrating patterns of birds and bats that scientists have tagged with tiny high-frequency transmitters.

Now, the Block Island Wind Farm can provide data on any tagged species that fly within a 20-mile radius of the wind farm. The study assists research conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“Deepwater Wind puts leading-edge science and technology to work to solve our country’s energy challenges,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “Our Block Island Wind Farm has not only pushed the boundaries of clean energy in the U.S., it’s also deepened the understanding of the marine environment. Now it’s our privilege to be part of cutting-edge research that will help scientists learn more about some of the country’s most important bird and bat species.”

The station is among more than 40 tracking stations along the eastern coast of the United States, and is operated in collaboration with the Motus Wildlife Tracking Network, a coordinated system to track migratory animals marked with digital VHF transmitters throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm began commercial operations in December 2016. The company is also in the early stages of development of its South Fork Wind Farm – a 90 MW project scheduled to begin serving Long Island in 2022 – as well as the Skipjack Wind Farm – a 120 MW project on schedule to begin serving Maryland in late 2022.