BSEE - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

02/22/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/22/2024 09:25

BSEE Leaders Tour Control and Coordination Centers for Nation’s First Two Commercial-scale Offshore Wind Projects in Federal Waters

WASHINGTON - As part of the Bureau's role in overseeing the growing U.S. offshore wind industry, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Kevin Sligh traveled to New England on Wednesday for a tour of the nation's first offshore control and marine coordination centers. The centers will support Vineyard Wind 1 and South Fork Wind, the nation's first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects in federal waters. BSEE Deputy Director Paul Huang, Renewable Energy and Regulatory Compliance Program Director Michaela Noble, and Renewable Energy Operations Director Cheri Hunter accompanied Director Sligh.

BSEE's approach to oversight of the wind industry will be driven by the newest technologies. BSEE leadership evaluated some of those technologies as they toured the control and marine coordination centers for Vineyard Wind 1 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and for South Fork Wind in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The fully operational facilities represent a significant milestone in the development of wind energy in federal waters.

"The control and marine coordination centers we visited today provide vital information to developers about the performance of their windfarms, and they will also be critical to BSEE in our role as the lead federal regulator for ensuring safe and environmentally responsible offshore wind operations," said Director Sligh. "The BSEE team is currently evaluating the centers and exploring ways to perform oversight of activities in a sound and practical way while allowing the developers to maximize power production and satisfy their regulatory obligations."

The marine coordination centers serve as the developer's central command for assigning and tracking working vessels, as well as for monitoring personnel working offshore. These centers are vital in ensuring safe, coordinated operations, and allow the operator to remain aware of all vessel activities and needs.

The windfarm control centers, which are co-located with the marine coordination centers, serve as the central control for the management of the offshore windfarm miles offshore. This is where the operators monitor the conditions of equipment; maximize efficiencies; approve, monitor, and coordinate maintenance; and initiate control and shutdown of equipment.

While touring the Vineyard Wind 1 centers, BSEE leaders also visited the adjacent wind turbine laydown yard where the turbine components - blades, tower, and nacelle - are stored prior to being shipped offshore for installation.

Currently Vineyard Wind 1 has installed three turbines with a total capacity of 39 megawatts (MW) and South Fork Wind has completed the installation of seven turbines with a total of 77 MW generation capacity.

The combined projects, when completed, will consist of 74 turbines, providing an estimated output of 930 MW, enough clean renewable energy to power approximately 470,000 homes for the next 25 years.

To address the climate challenges now and into the future, BSEE Is helping to meet the Department of the Interior's and the Biden-Harris administration's commitment to advancing the nation's offshore wind energy goal with the deployment of 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035. The deployment of renewable energy on U.S. public lands and waters will create nearly 80,000 good-paying, union jobs.

On Jan. 17, 2023, the Department of the Interior officially transitioned authority for safety and environmental compliance functions related to offshore renewable energy development to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.