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South Fork Wind, a joint venture offshore wind project developed by Ørsted and Eversource, has signed an agreement with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) to further enhance measures designed to protect the North Atlantic right whale during construction and operation of the offshore wind farm.
North Atlantic right whales are one of the most endangered whales on the planet and scientists estimate that fewer than 340 remain. South Fork Wind has committed to measures that will help protect these whales in the project area, where their habitat is increasingly threatened by climate change. For example, South Fork Wind will adopt a suite of monitoring measures to help ensure right whales are not in close proximity to the construction site during construction activities, implement mitigation to reduce noise during piling, and evaluate other new monitoring technologies as part of the agreement. To guard against vessel strikes, the agreement also includes a 10-knot speed limit for all project-related vessels unless an effective adaptive speed management plan is in place. In addition to these mitigation measures, South Fork Wind will test technologies that detect and have the potential to track whales, including thermal cameras, acoustic sensors, and data integration software.
South Fork Wind is New York State’s first offshore wind farm. The project is located 35 miles east of Long Island and its 12 turbines will generate approximately 130MW of power. The project broke ground in January 2022 and is expected to be operational in late 2023.
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