Renewable Energy Viewshed Analysis and Visualization Simulation for the New York Call Area

Summary

In response to stakeholder interest regarding visual impacts from potential future renewable energy development within the New York Call Area, BOEM has undertaken a project to develop visual simulations of a hypothetical wind energy facility on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Long Island, New York. The purpose of the study is to characterize the potential onshore visibility of offshore wind turbines from locations along the coasts of New York and New Jersey under different seasons, times of day and weather condition.

BOEM is not currently considering the approval of a specific project within the Call Area; therefore, the visual simulations illustrate a hypothetical project. The hypothetical project was designed to represent a commercially-scaled and technically feasible scenario that is consistent with industry trends regarding operating capacity, wind turbine size, spacing and configuration. Per BOEM’s guidelines, project-specific visual simulations would be prepared by a lessee and submitted with a Construction and Operations Plan (COP). See Guidelines for Information Requirements for a Renewable Energy Construction and Operations Plan.

A series of accurate and realistic visual simulations of the hypothetical project were created from sixteen Key Observation Points located in New York and New Jersey. The simulations were further informed by a comprehensive meteorological conditions assessment and a GIS-based viewshed analysis. A detailed description of the methods and supporting information used to create the visual simulations is provided in the Compendium Report developed to accompany the simulations.

Compendium Report

The Compendium Report is an essential component to understanding the process and methodology behind the development of the visual simulations. The Compendium Report documents each stage of the study including the meteorological assessment; viewshed analysis; photographic documentation of Key Observation Points; development of single frame simulations, panoramic photomontages, and video simulations; and a visibility assessment.

Please click here to view the Compendium Report.

Instructions for Viewing the Visual Simulations

Photographic Simulations: The visibility of the turbines on images projected on a computer screen will depend on the scale at which the image is being viewed. Simply put, zooming in on the image will over-represent visibility and, conversely, zooming out will minimize visibility of turbines.

Viewing instructions are provided on each simulation. To view the simulations properly, adjust the zoom until the scale bar on the simulation measures four inches. Scaling the simulation in this manner will ensure that turbines – and other natural features in the view frame – are portrayed at an accurate scale and will ensure the field of view is similar to that experienced by an observer standing at the Key Observation Point. Once properly-scaled, the images should be viewed from a distance of 11.2 inches.

Video Simulations: If viewed on a computer monitor, use the highest screen resolution available. The simulated image is at the proper perspective when viewed at 23.5 inches from the eye, or at a distance of approximately twice the image height.

Visual Simulations: