The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) recently announced the release of a report detailing a high-resolution geophysical and oceanographic survey of the entire Maryland Wind Energy Area. The survey was the first by any state to map the seafloor geology of a complete Wind Energy Area. This information is critical to optimizing the siting, design and layout of an offshore wind project.
MEA contracted with Coastal Planning & Engineering to pilot the Scarlett Isabella along lines set 150 feet apart, over 1,500 nautical miles. The team gathered data characterizing the depth, seafloor conditions and seabed geology, as well as looking for submerged cultural resources such as shipwrecks.
This report outlines the physical environment of the Wind Energy Area, including the composition of geological layers, the location and nature of hazards, and distribution of cultural resources. The project trained students at University of Maryland Eastern Shore to serve as federally certified Protected Species Observers on the mission, ensuring that marine mammals and other protected species were not impacted, while providing students with skills in high demand. Teams of scientists from University of Maryland Baltimore County deployed LIDAR, weather balloons and other tools to gather valuable data for refining power production and climate models of the Wind Energy Area.