Vineyard Wind and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the National Wildlife Federation, and Conservation Law Foundation entered into an unprecedented agreement to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.
Under the historic agreement, Vineyard Wind will institute a variety of protective measures to keep right whales safe while installing and operating turbines at its proposed 84-turbine project off the coast of Massachusetts. Harnessing offshore wind is a key step in transitioning the nation away from dirty, polluting fossil fuels to a clean energy economy.
“Scaling up offshore wind in wildlife-friendly ways is essential to confronting the climate crisis,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “By ensuring that offshore wind power is responsibly built and operated, this model agreement is a win-win for conserving wildlife and creating well-paying jobs. We are proud to work with Vineyard Wind and our conservation partners to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales as this critically needed new clean energy industry takes off in the United States.”
Turbine construction will be curtailed in the winter and early spring when the North Atlantic right whales may be in the area, and there will be comprehensive monitoring to ensure that construction doesn’t take place when the whales are near the site. Vineyard Wind will dampen construction noise that disturbs the whales’ ability to communicate, find food, and stay on their migratory path. The agreement also includes strict vessel speed limits.
“This innovative agreement is proof that we can grow the clean energy we need to power our homes and businesses and at the same time protect vulnerable wildlife like the iconic North Atlantic right whale,” said Nathanael Greene, Senior Renewable Energy Advocate at NRDC.
“As we ask more of our oceans, we must ensure that we balance the critical need for clean energy with the protection of our majestic right whales and other marine species,” added Dr. Priscilla Brooks, Director of Ocean Conservation at CLF. “This agreement marks a significant step forward in responsible development of offshore wind energy.”
Filed Under: News, Offshore wind, Policy, Projects