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Offshore wind farm taps Groton marine tech company for undersea survey

Groton — The marine robotics company ThayerMahan is adding to its list of partners in the offshore wind industry with plans for an undersea survey off the coast of Massachusetts.

New Bedford, Mass.-based Vineyard Wind, an 800-megawatt project located 15 miles from Martha's Vineyard, announced Friday that ThayerMahan's HOS Mystique vessel will be conducting seabed and infrastructure survey and inspection work from Montville's Horton Point.

ThayerMahan — headquartered in Groton with additional locations in Lexington, Mass., Boston, and Washington, D.C. — was named Industry Innovator of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut in 2020 and was selected by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., as the Innovator of the Month in March.

The companies in a news release said the HOS Mystique will have an Offshore Fishery Liaison on board to help communicate with commercial fishermen working in the area. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management requires offshore wind companies to develop fisheries communication plans and hire liaisons to have discussions with fishermen.

Fishermen have been concerned about how the wind farms will affect fishing stocks and their ability to access them, interfere with fishing equipment, disturb marine life and make navigation more difficult.

The companies also cited support from the Chicawa, a local fishing vessel employed by Vineyard Wind to help survey vessels avoid fixed gear and reduce potential gear entanglement. The vessels follow all marine mammal mitigation requirements, according to the companies.

Officials from both companies extolled the virtues of staying local.

Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus S. Moeller said partnering with local companies is essential to building out the offshore wind industry in the United States.

"The more we go local, the more we can ensure that the many jobs this industry will create in our region will not only take root but flourish," he said.

Mike Connor, ThayerMahan president and CEO, described it as another example of Vineyard Wind honoring its commitment to the regional economy and workforce.

"ThayerMahan is excited to support Vineyard Wind as the first and foremost, large-scale, wind farm development in the United States," Connor said.

It is among several offshore wind farm projects in the works for the waters off the New England coast.

Vineyard Wind, a joint venture of Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, has broken ground on what is expected to be the nation's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. The farm is expected to deliver power to Massachusetts next year. Avangrid Renewables also is developing Park City Wind, a 804-megawatt project named after the city of Bridgeport. Avangrid is leasing space in Bridgeport's Barnum Landing for a construction and staging location. That project is projected to produce about 14% of Connecticut's electricity.

ThayerMahan at the start of 2020 announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Ørsted and Eversource to monitor wildlife and seabeds in connection with the Revolution Wind offshore wind project. The 704-megawatt Revolution Wind is expected to provide 304 megawatts of power to Connecticut and 400 megawatts to Rhode Island by 2025.

Sunrise Wind, a 924-megawatt project also developed by Ørsted and Eversource, will provide power to New York.

ThayerMahan's primary customers are the Navy, Coast Guard and government entities, along with offshore wind businesses.

The company was bolstered in 2021 by $8 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium for its work with undersea cables, a project that could help reduce impacts on the ocean environment of work proposed by the offshore wind industry.

Also announced last year were plans from the U.S. Department of Energy to expand offshore wind farms along the East Coast with a national goal of generating 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 — enough to power more than 10 million American homes and cut 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

e.regan@theday.com

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