ATLANTIC CITY — Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind on Wednesday announced the launch of two buoys that will collect atmospheric and weather data and track the migration of birds, fish, turtles and other animals that have been tagged by researchers.
Each buoy will be deployed in the offshore wind developer’s lease area off Atlantic City to strengthen atmospheric models that help inform how the developer designs and estimates energy production for its proposed project, according to a news release. Some data also will help deepen research of the Mid-Atlantic Cold Pool as well as help study animal migration and stop-over activities to inform the development of offshore wind in the area.
The buoy deployment is the latest stage of progress for Atlantic Shores as it continues to study its lease area for the eventual construction of a wind farm capable of generating more than 3 gigawatts of electricity, powering nearly 1.5 million homes. Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind LLC is a 50/50 partnership between Shell New Energies U.S. LLC and EDF Renewables North America. The joint venture formed in December 2018 to develop a 183,353-acre lease area 10 to 20 miles off New Jersey between Atlantic City and Barnegat Light.
The developer continues to work with state universities conducting atmospheric and migration research off the New Jersey coast. Last year, Atlantic Shores and the Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership collaborated on the installation of a wind LiDAR (light detection and ranging) instrument alongside the causeway leading to the Rutgers Marine Field Station in Tuckerton.
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RUCOOL will use some of the data collected from the upcoming buoy deployment and the LiDAR installation to evaluate the Rutgers University Weather Research Forecasting atmospheric modeling system.
“RU-WRF is not only used for offshore wind research, but it is also actively used to better understand air-sea interactions during hurricanes, winter storms and coastal sea breezes,” said Travis Miles, assistant professor with RUCOOL. “The model and ASOW LiDAR buoy data have been used by faculty, graduate and undergraduate students as both research and teaching tools over the past two years.”
The buoys will be launched in May with the atmospheric data collection instruments, and this fall the sensors will be added to begin collecting migration and stop-over data of turtles, birds, fish and other species that may be tagged, including bats and large insects. The sensors will collect data on the unique signature emitted by each tag, including location, migration speed between points, length of stop-over and other aspects of their behavior.
“The analysis that students, faculty and our team will conduct is essential to further develop our knowledge of the lease area’s atmospheric and ecological conditions,” said Jennifer Daniels, development director for Atlantic Shores. “Atlantic Shores leads with science, and we are proud to collaborate with one of the state’s leading academic institutions to deepen the body of research on coastal New Jersey waters.”