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Offshore Wind Development

offshore wind turbines

Strong economic and policy winds are powering the clean energy movement in America that aims to decarbonize large parts of our energy system. Renewable energy from offshore wind is poised to play an important role in the energy mix of our future. Major expansion of available wind energy areas and unprecedented investment in offshore wind promises an exciting next generation of local, renewable energy growth for the United States.

Integral Consulting Inc. helps clients recognize key natural resource, environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic risks that require active management across different phases of development. We collaborate with our clients and stakeholders across disciplines, across wind energy regions, and in diverse partnerships because this next generation of offshore energy will require innovation, perspective, and creativity to achieve offshore wind’s potential to benefit the United States. We focus on finding solutions to the key “non-technical risks” that can halt projects in their tracks because they lie outside and sometimes across the jurisdictional, regulatory, and technical assessments that steer regulators and developers alike.

Integral’s extensive modeling capabilities and state-of-the-art survey tools produce a holistic understanding of the marine environment. This foundational understanding reduces risk for wind farm developers and operators while helping create sustainable approaches for all marine users.

Key Staff

Team Lead

Ian Voparil, Ph.D.
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Team

Craig Jones, Ph.D.
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Team

Damian V. Preziosi
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Team

Head shot of Grace Chang

Grace Chang, Ph.D.
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Team

Eugene C. Revelas
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Team

Kaustubha Raghukumar, Ph.D.
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Offshore Wind Development Timeline

Each stage of development has its own challenges. Integral’s staff have the experience of helping stakeholders at each phase.

Use the timeline below to see where we can help you complete each phase of the project.

Offshore Wind Timeline Graphic Planning Leasing Assessment Construction Operation Decommission
Offshore Wind
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    Planning & Analysis

    To support the identification of suitable areas for wind energy leasing, Integral provides the following services to regulators and potential investors and developers:

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    • Evidence-based frameworks and marine spatial planning to identify, evaluate, and resolve potential conflicts between new and existing ocean users
    • Predictive regional modeling to evaluate the impacts of potential offshore wind development on oceanographic, ecological, and socioeconomic systems
    • Oceanographic data analysis and baseline assessments
    • Environmental assessments
      • Sensitive and critical habitats
      • Sediment transport and hydrodynamic modeling
      • Seafloor disturbance​
      • Ocean sound and Acoustics—marine mammal detection, classification, and localization; sound source estimates; particle motion around wind turbines; soundscape modeling; and risk assessment frameworks​
      • Electromagnetic fields in ocean and air
      • Essential fish habitat and fisheries
      • Impact assessment​
      • Cumulative effects
    • Natural resource economic assessments (e.g., fisheries)
    • Risk management and decision support
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    Leasing

    The leasing phase results in the issuance of a commercial wind energy lease, which gives the lessee the exclusive right to consider offshore wind development of a specific offshore area.

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    The lease does not grant the lessee the right to construct any facilities, but rather the right to use the lease area to develop increasingly more specific additional plans, including a Site Assessment Plan and a Construction and Operation Plan, that require regulatory approval by authorities before the lessee can continue.
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    Site Assessment

    To support the site assessment of a specific leased area for offshore wind development evaluating baseline conditions for suitable engineering, design, and site layout, Integral provides the following services for leaseholders and their service providers:

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    • Wind resource assessments (e.g., floating LiDAR systems, with our partners) to support site selection, yield optimization, array engineering, and financial investment decisions
    • Oceanographic data analysis and baseline environmental studies of benthic habitats, essential fish habitats, marine mammals and sensitive species
    • Site-specific wave, current, and sediment transport models for feasibility assessments and engineering and construction management
    • Electromagnetic field models of offshore and onshore cables for ecological and human-health effects
    • Modeling and measurement of seafloor stability and sediment transport for scour and burial assessments using our proprietary technology (e.g., SEDflume; Voyager Series benthic flumes, and cohesive strength meter).
    • Marine acoustics for marine mammal detection, classification, and localization, soundscape modeling and risk assessment, including a proprietary technology to measure associated particle motion that may affect some fish and marine invertebrates
    • Collaborative opportunities on issues that require “beyond the lease” information to address issues including cumulative effects, migratory species, and ocean noise
    • Evaluating potential overlap with other human uses of the ocean, including fisheries, with natural resource economics.
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    Construction

    To support delivery of monitoring and mitigations agreed between the regulatory agencies and lessees in approved Construction and Operations Plans, Integral provides the following services:

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    • Oceanographic and ecological monitoring programs
    • Marine acoustics programs
    • Sediment and water quality monitoring
    • Data analytics and assimilation.
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    Operation

    Integral designs fit-for-purpose monitoring programs using best-available science and data standardization protocols to measure environmental performance for the long run.

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    Whether project-specific or regional in scale, developers are required to synthesize multiple efforts into detailed reports for continuing regulator and stakeholder evaluation. Adaptive management frameworks continually evaluate performance, address uncertainty, and find opportunities for continuous improvement and streamlining while also assuring environmental performance.
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    Decommission

    Fully decommissioning an offshore wind farm is the least cost-effective strategy for owners and operators, so other options need to be considered, even during the early days of front-end planning of the development.

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    Improvements in technology at the end of 25 years in service may make life extension and repowering attractive financial and technical options. Challenging regulatory frameworks and incomplete information on the environmental costs—or benefits—of decommissioning need to be addressed through the environmental monitoring program agreed with the Construction and Operations Plan. Doing so right from the start allows a scientific foundation and proper accounting for an offshore wind farm’s environmental, ecological, and socioeconomic benefits that would otherwise go unrecognized. Integral advises clients and stakeholders on the key data needs drawn from our experience with long-term environmental monitoring programs for rigs to reefs, marine protected areas, essential fish habitat, and socioeconomic assessment of fisheries.
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    Litigation

    Offshore wind development in the U.S. has drawn considerable opposition from other users of the oceans, coastal landowners, and environmental organizations that has resulted in litigation against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and developers.

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    Litigation highlights the serious concerns about competition for marine territory and often alleges violations of environmental laws during the permitting of offshore wind projects, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act , Marine Mammal Protection Act, and Incidental Harassment Authorizations. Integral’s expertise and experience can mitigate litigation risk during each stage of planning and development including:

    • Evidence-based frameworks and marine spatial planning to identify, evaluate, and resolve potential conflicts between new and existing ocean users
    • Stakeholder engagement to scope and address environmental, cultural, environmental justice, and socioeconomic issues
    • Experts in impact assessment and development of mitigations and operational performance standards based upon best-available science
    • Innovation in cumulative impact analysis and programmatic assessments.
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    Ports

    Integral applies its breadth of engineering and scientific expertise to port development projects that are in the works to meet the growth and needs of offshore wind in the United States.

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    • From legal support to project planning through construction, our engineering teams develop practical solutions to meet our clients’ challenges. We prepare engineering plans and specifications, obtain permits, provide construction management, and advise real estate transactions.
    • Site-specific wave, current, and sediment transport models for feasibility assessments and engineering and construction management.
    • Modeling and measurement of seafloor stability and sediment transport for scour and burial assessments using our proprietary technology (e.g., SEDflume; Voyager Series benthic flumes, and cohesive strength meter).
    • Benthic habitat characterization, including evaluation of water and sediment contamination and ecologically important habitats.