Offshore Wind Site Suitability Studies
The Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEM) is responsible for approving and regulating offshore wind projects that will be developed on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and has initiated efforts to begin leasing wind energy areas (WEAs) of the OCS through a series of calls for interest.
Kleinschmidt worked with Fishermen’s Energy to prepare responses to BOEM for WEAs in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Virginia. An important component of each of these responses was a detailed GIS evaluation of the areas in question, including environmental and engineering appraisal using geospatial analysis and other GIS tools, to identify the optimum choice of OCS blocks for development. Kleinschmidt developed a spatial decision-support system that incorporated a wide array of publicly available information. Kleinschmidt’s geospatial data scientists processed the raw data to produce derived products such as engineering cost, ecological diversity, and least-coast pathways for transmitting electricity. The derived layers were then combined to form a wind-farm suitability map that assisted in determining the most effective location for wind power development.
The spatial decision-support system allowed efficient visualization of important factors that could affect development and lead to better, more informed decisions. Detailed screening to determine the best project sites will help to avoid future problems and lead to projects that are more defensible and easier to permit.