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    Thursday, February 02, 2023

    Ørsted, Eversource to partner with Mystic Aquarium to study offshore wind’s impact on marine life

    Developers of Connecticut’s first offshore wind farm announced they will partner with Mystic Aquarium to study the effects of wind turbines on marine mammals and sea turtles.

    In a news release, Ørsted and Eversource, the energy companies behind Revolution Wind, said the research will be funded by a $1.25 million grant they awarded to the aquarium last year. Through the partnership, aquarium scientists will investigate marine mammal strandings before and after construction and operation of offshore wind farms; develop technology to assess the physiological response to offshore wind power systems; and tag and track seals and sea turtles.

    “Offshore wind energy will play a significant role in fighting climate change, which is one of the biggest threats to the health of marine ecosystems,” said Katie Cubina, the aquarium’s acting president and chief executive officer. “We absolutely need the benefits of renewable offshore wind energy to help stem environmental damage caused by fossil fuels, but we also need to ensure that wind turbines are installed and operated in a responsible manner that minimizes negative impacts on the marine ecosystem.”

    Mystic Aquarium is ideally suited to investigate the relationship between marine life and offshore wind energy infrastructure, given its ability to compare animals under its care to those in the wild that become stranded and are rehabilitated by its Animal Rescue Program, the news release said.

    The aquarium’s rescue team responds to reports of stranded and distressed marine mammals and sea turtles along 1,000 miles of coastline in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Fisher’s Island, N.Y.

    Once rehabilitated, marine mammals and sea turtles are returned to the wild with tracking devices attached to them. Comparisons between biological samples taken from aquarium animals through noninvasive means and samples from stranded animals will inform much of the research.

    Revolution Wind, which will provide energy for more than 350,000 homes in Connecticut and Rhode Island beginning in 2025, will be located 32 miles southeast of Connecticut, 15 miles south of Rhode Island, and 12 miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard.

    Turbines for the wind farm will be assembled and shipped from State Pier in New London.

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