Renewable Energy Research Ongoing Studies

Feature Image

BOEM-funded research continues to contribute to the growing body of scientific knowledge on the marine environment and informs BOEM's decision-making regarding renewable energy planning, leasing, and development efforts. Take a look at the studies underway to learn more:


Birds and Bats 

Analysis of Long-term Seabird Colony Legacy Data in the Pacific Northwest as a Regional Baseline

  • Compiling existing seabird data for future analyses

Anticipating Shifts in Marine Bird Distributions for Planning, Leasing, and Assessment of Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf

  • Using historical distribution data to predict future shifts in bird distribution patterns

Atlas of Main Hawaiian Island Seabird Colonies

  • Creating interactive maps with existing data to evaluate colony status

Habitat Affinities and At-sea Ranging Behaviors among Main Hawaiian Island Seabirds

  • Increase BOEM’s understanding of at-sea habitat utilization and ranging behaviors for seabirds breeding within the main Hawaiian Islands.

Transparent modeling of collision risk for three federally-listed bird species to offshore wind development

  • Developing a new modeling approach to evaluate the risk of collision of birds with offshore wind turbines

Year-round and Diel Patterns in Habitat-use of Seabirds off Oregon

  • Study aimed at obtaining quantitative information on year-round, diurnal/nocturnal, and weather- related patterns in movements, behaviors, residence time, and migration corridors for seabirds.

Cultural and Archaeological Resources 

Archaeological and Biological Assessment of Submerged Landforms off the Pacific Coast

  • Determine if landforms and sites are being identified correctly from the geophysical data acquired under guidelines published in NTL 2006-P03, and if these buried landforms actually are preserved prehistoric sites.

Characterizing Tribal Cultural Landscapes

  • Develop a proactive approach to working with Native American communities in order to identify areas of tribal significance that need to be considered in the planning process.

Environmental Fates and Effects 

Real-time Opportunity for Development Environmental Observations (RODEO)

  • Acquire real-time observations of the construction and initial operation of wind facilities to aid the evaluation of environmental effects of future facilities.

Real-time Opportunity for Development Environmental Observations (RODEO) II

  • Continuing the Acquisition of real-time observations of the construction and initial operation of wind facilities to aid the evaluation of environmental effects of future facilities

Understanding and Mitigating the Effects of Marine Renewable Energy Technologies on the Coastal and Marine Environment in the Pacific OCS Region

  • Research, observe, sample, and/or monitor offshore renewable energy applications and technologies in the Pacific Region to determine potential environmental effects on the coastal and marine environment.

Understanding the Role of Offshore Structures in Managing Potential Watersipora subtorquata Invasions

  • Identifying how structures support invasive species

Environmental Mapping 

California Current Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey and Use of Data to Produce and Validate Cetacean and Seabird Density Maps

  • Observe whales and seabirds and use to validate modeled seabird and whale distribution maps.

Cross-shelf Habitat Suitability Modeling

  • Improving benthic models and including sponges and rals.

Environmental Monitoring 

DOI Partnership: Distinguishing Between Human and Natural Causes of Change in Nearshore Ecosystems Using Long-term Data from DOI Monitoring Programs

  • Understand the natural range and sources of variability in the kelp forest ecosystem well enough to generate predictions on how it will respond to environmental change and enable scientists and managers to evaluate possible impacts from offshore oil and gas and alternative energy production, and develop options to mitigate these impacts.

Fish and Fisheries 

A Database and Acoustic Reference Catalog of Marine Fish Sounds—Atlantic Pilot

  • Creating a library of fish sounds to identify fish collected in the marine environment from datasets collected using acoustic monitoring.

Behavioral effects of sound sources from offshore renewable energy construction on the black sea bass (Centropristis striata) and longfin inshore squid (Doryteuthis pealeii)

  • Establishing fish auditory thresholds for Black Sea Bass and Longfin Squid

Behavioral Effects of Sound Sources from Offshore Renewable Energy Construction on the Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata) and Longfin Inshore Squid (Doryteuthispealeii): A Field Study

  • Examining the effects of offshore windfarm construction noise on two key commercially and ecological important taxa, squid and black sea bass, using field-based controlled exposures

Development of a Strategy to Evaluate NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) Fishery Resource Surveys Affected by Offshore Wind Development

  • Using expert scientists to develop survey methodologies addressing effects from presence of offshore wind structures

Linking multiple data sources to better describe fishing vessel activity on the Atlantic OCS

  • Exploring how observations of fishing vessels from wildlife surveys can enhance the characterization of fishing vessel activity derived from AIS/VMS data

Movement Patterns of Fish in Southern New England

  • Using new technologies to study cod and other fish species in the Southern New England Area

Pilot Studies for Regional Fisheries Monitoring in Relation to Massachusetts and Rhode Island Offshore Wind Areas

  • Partnering with Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the State of Rhode Island to fund fisheries research, specifically acoustic telemetry of highly migratory species; net surveys for lobster and fish neuston; and vessel data and machine learning.

Understanding of Atlantic Sturgeon Migratory Patterns – Integrating Telemetry and Genetics

  • Connecting genetics and fish movements to better understand how sturgeon migrate between rivers and the ocean

Understanding Potential Economic Impacts to Surfclam/Ocean Quahog Commercial Fishing from Offshore Wind Energy Facility Construction and Operation

  • Using agent-based modeling to evaluate the effects of offshore wind development on surfclam and ocean quahog fishing.

Marine Mammals and Other Protected Species 

Assessing Population Effects of Offshore Wind Development on North Atlantic Right Whales

  • Using modeling to assess the effects from offshore wind development on the North Atlantic Right Whale

Atlantic Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (AMAPPS) - Photogrammetric Aerial Surveys to Improve Detection and Classification of Seabirds, Cetaceans, and Sea Turtles

  • Comparing observation methodologies using traditional survey methods and new technologies.

Behavioral Response of Sea Turtles from Controlled Exposures to a Mobile Impulsive Sound Source

  • Using telemetry to determine how leatherback sea turtles respond to a sound source in the ocean

Atlantic Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species III

  • Continuation of broad-scale surveys for marine mammals and turtles on the outer continental shelf

Endangered Atlantic Sturgeon Habitat Use in Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy Area

  • Provide information on the seasonal patterns of occurrence and habitat use as well as explore the underlying causal mechanisms for Atlantic sturgeon habitat selection in and around the Virginia WEA and the Sandbridge Shoal sand borrow site in BOEM’s Mid-Atlantic Planning Area.

Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (GoMMAPPS)

  • Improve information about protected living marine resources through multi-year surveys of marine mammals, sea turtles, and sea birds in the Gulf of Mexico.

Pacific Marine Assessment Partnership for Protected Species (PacMAPPS)

  • Developing a methodology to evaluate towed PAM systems for their effectiveness to detect marine mammals

Seabird and Marine Mammal Surveys near Potential Renewable Energy Sites Offshore Central and Southern California

  • Collecting distribution and abundance observations about seabird and marine mammals.

Seabird and Marine Mammal Surveys off the Northern California, Oregon, and Washington Coasts

  • Provide up-to-date information on species composition, distribution, abundance, seasonal variation, and habitat utilization of marine mammals and seabirds along selected locations along the Pacific coast.

Visual Simulation of Whales and Renewable Energy Moorings and Cables Acoustic

  • Characterizing the interaction of whales with mooring lines and cables.

Zooplankton Ecology of the Gulf of Maine

  • Monitoring of zooplankton that are a critical food source for marine mammals

Physical Environment 

California Deepwater Investigations and Groundtruthing (Cal DIG) I

  • Improving regional models of seafloor (benthic) habitats, geologic hazards and sedimentary processes

Collection of Metocean Resource Characterization Data off the California Coast

  • Collecting wind data using a LiDAR buoy.

Offshore Renewable Energy Feasibility Study Across Technology Types for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico

  • Provide a comprehensive survey across the various types of offshore renewable energy technologies and perform an assessment of their technical and economic feasibility in the Gulf of Mexico to inform the Bureau’s strategic planning.

Social, Economic and Cultural Resources 

Scenarios for Offshore Renewable Energy along the Central California Coast

  • Creating feasibility scenarios for future offshore projects.