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Use of offshore wind energy is expanding in Europe and North America. The individual offshore wind turbines that produce this renewable energy are supported by large piles, up to several meters in diameter, driven tens of meters into the seabed. This process prompts concerns about the possible adverse effects of construction noise on marine life. While the effects are routinely evaluated by carrying out environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for each wind farm, no coherent methodology presently exists to ensure that EIAs carried out by different organisations produce comparable results for the same construction.
To address this situation, BOEM has contracted a team of American and European experts in underwater sound propagation and bioacoustics from CSA Ocean Sciences, Oasis and TNO. The role of TNO role is to provide finite element predictions of the sound field close to a pile, to develop simple methods for extrapolating from measurements close to a pile, and to advise CSA and OASIS based on TNO’s experience on European construction projects.