The company preparing to build an 84-turbine wind farm off Martha's Vineyard has put out a call to universities, technology companies and other innovators that could help implement a system to detect the presence of endangered North Atlantic right whales during construction.
Vineyard Wind said it is seeking a firm or institution that can "provide and operationalize enhanced acoustic monitoring systems that will detect the presence of Right Whales, and transmit information in real-time to project staff so that enhanced protections can be effectively implemented."
Protection would include vessel speed restrictions, Vineyard Wind said.
Utility companies and the state tapped Vineyard Wind to construct an 800-megawatt wind farm 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard and 34 miles from the mainland to fulfill the first half of a 1,600-megawatt procurement called for in a 2016 clean energy law.
The company has already entered an agreement with a number of organizations to protect the whales.
"Vineyard Wind has two goals with this initiative: First, to ensure best protections for the right whale as we go to build and operate the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm," Erich Stephens, Vineyard Wind chief development officer, said. "Our second goal, which is equally important, is to help place the emerging US offshore wind industry on track to deliver the substantial volume of clean, competitive cost energy that our nation needs while expanding protections for this highly endangered whale."
Vineyard Wind said Tuesday that it remains on schedule to begin construction this year.
The project, which is slated to be the country's first utility-scale offshore wind farm, is expected to be operational in 2021 and is expected to generate enough electricity to supply 6 percent of the state's demand.