Environment FAQs

What kind of scientific studies are being done to gather data about the marine ecosystem before, during, and after installation of foundations, cables, and other project facilities?

SouthCoast Wind will deploy robust, science-driven decision making to site, permit, and operate the project.

  • Pre-construction surveys include:
    • Geophysical and geotechnical surveys
    • Benthic surveys
    • Seagrass and macroalgae surveys
    • Offshore avian, marine mammal and sea turtle surveys
  • Post-construction surveys include:
    • Benthic surveys
Will fishermen be able to fish between offshore wind turbines?

Yes. Fishing activities will be allowed to continue as permitted in the project area, although some temporary exclusion zones are anticipated during construction and turbine installation due to the need to ensure safety for all mariners.  SouthCoast Wind will continue to communicate with mariners in advance of construction and throughout the installation process.

Will there be a system in place for fisherman to report lost and or/damaged gear?

Yes. A process for reporting lost and/or damaged gear is being coordinated with other offshore wind developers to simplify the process for fishermen. Please contact SouthCoast Wind’s Fisheries Liaison Officer Joel Southall at  joel.southall@mayflowerwind.com with any questions.

How will SouthCoast Wind avoid impacts to marine mammals and turtles?

During pre-construction geophysical and geotechnical surveys, SouthCoast Wind uses Protected Species Observers and Passive Acoustic Monitoring to monitor for and mitigate impacts to marine mammals and sea turtles. SouthCoast Wind is currently preparing a Protected Species Mitigation and Monitoring Plan as an appendix to the project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP).

Can I see the turbines or flashing aviation warning lights from the shore?

As part of the project’s isual Impact Analysis and an Analysis of Visual Effects to Historic Properties, SouthCoast Wind will be creating selected visual simulations from various onshore Key Observation Points (KOPs). These photorealistic simulations will depict visual changes or contrasts, as seen from the KOPS, that the project may cause. The visual simulations will be part of both assessments, which will be included as appendices to the SouthCoast Wind Construction and Operations Plan (COP). Simulations and assessments will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation measures to address visual impacts.

What type of lighting can be installed at the substation to limit visual impacts?

SouthCoast Wind will work with the Town of Falmouth to ensure the lighting scheme complies with local requirements. Outdoor light fixtures are typically LED holophane type fixtures equipped with light shields to prevent light from encroaching into adjacent areas, and comply with night sky lighting standards to the extent practicable. There are typically a few lights illuminated for security reasons on dusk–to-dawn sensors as well as a few on motion-sensing switches, depending on the application needed for the site. The majority of lights will be switched on for emergency situations only and would not be used on a regular basis. Task lighting during construction and maintenance activities will only be used as needed and manually switched on.

What types of visual barriers can be installed at the substation to limit visual impacts?

SouthCoast Wind will be required to implement security measures at the proposed substation site designed specifically to prevent public access, for reasons of public health and safety — to meet or exceed all National Electric Safety code requirements for substations, including the use of climb-resistant fencing. The design of the substation screening is intended to provide a functional enclosure for the safety and security of the equipment, site workers, and neighbors.

We anticipate that certain exterior areas of the perimeter fence might be landscaped with a natural buffer of trees and shrubs to screen or soften the view. SouthCoast Wind would work with the Town of Falmouth about installing earthen beams, vegetative screening, narrow-gauge black mesh fencing, or chain link fencing with visual screens along the periphery of the substation.

What measures can be taken to prevent birds and animals from nesting or accessing the substation?

SouthCoast Wind, in consultation with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, will evaluate protective measures, such as installing wooden pole(s) with nesting platforms in the vicinity of the substation to discouraging ospreys from nesting on nearby utility structures during the breeding season (between April and July) and removing nests from the substation and nearby transmission structures while the birds are south for the winter.

Potential measures used by electric utilities to improve barriers around substations and reduce the opportunity for animals to contact energized equipment in the substations include various mesh and polycarbonate panel fencing, aluminum bands wrapped around wooden utility poles, and caps to cover various components.

How does sea level rise, with associated flooding and erosion, effect where the cables come on land?

The selection of landfall locations as well as the final export cable corridor considered the location of existing marine infrastructure and sought to mitigate for risks to existing built infrastructure, avoiding the need to cross several existing power cables that extend between the Cape Cod shoreline and Martha’s Vineyard.   
Although the Falmouth Heights landfall is located within a federal flood zone, it is unlikely to be impacted by a typical storm event, and the underground transmission system will be designed to withstand submergence.  The onshore cable route is expected to avoid inundation at a sea level rise of four feet, consistent with the expected operational life of the project utilizing a 2050 planning horizon. Furthermore, the preferred landfall remains above inundation levels with even the maximum six-foot sea level rise. 

Why not use horizontal drilling for the entire on-land installation?

The existing world record length for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is about 2.5 miles. The total current anticipated HDD length for the SouthCoast Wind project is about one mile. The entire length of the onshore cable route from either landfall to potential substation is between two to eight miles.