Health & Safety FAQs
What health and safety protocols will you deploy?
SouthCoast Wind has a “zero harm” philosophy that provides a rigorous approach to health and safety to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace.
SouthCoast Wind will:
- Provide a systematic approach to Health, Safety, Security & Environment (HSSE) & Social Performance (SP) management designed to ensure compliance with applicable law and to achieve continuous performance improvement;
- Conduct all operations in a safe and diligent manner;
- Reduce the HSSE & SP risks associated with operations; and
- Provide any necessary measures or plans to address emergency events.
To manage risks, SouthCoast Wind:
- Set targets for improvement and provide monthly performance reporting;
- Require contractors to manage HSSE risks in line with the HSSE & SP policies of SouthCoast Wind;
- Ensure that HSSE & SP is the responsibility of all managers, teams and individuals;
- Provide proactive and respectful engagement with neighbors and communities;
- Permit any individual to stop any work, or prevent any work from starting, where adequate controls of HSSE & SP risks are found not to be in place or are ineffective;
- Include HSSE performance in the appraisal of operating staff and contractors and rewards them accordingly; and
- Apply Life-Saving Rules for all work activities.
How will you mitigate issues related to navigational safety and commercial fisheries?
SouthCoast Wind and the other New England offshore leaseholders have proposed a collaborative regional layout for wind turbines across respective federal offshore lease areas. This uniform grid pattern has at least three lines of orientation and standard spacing: lanes for vessel transit oriented in a northwest to southwest direction at 0.7 nautical mile wide; lanes for commercial fishing vessels actively engaged in fishing oriented in an east to west direction at 1 nautical mile wide; and lanes for US Coast Guard search and rescue operations oriented in a north to south and east to west direction at 1 nautical mile wide.
This layout creates more distance between turbines than any offshore wind projects operating globally, establishing more than 200 transit lanes in all directions through the lease areas.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) determined in its May 2020 Massachusetts Rhode Island Port Access Route Study (MARIPARS) that this type of “standard and uniform grid pattern” layout would “maximize safe navigation” and allow for “safe navigation and continuity of USCG missions through seven adjacent wind farm leases over more than 1400 square miles of ocean.”
Do electric and magnetic fields (EMF) from the project impact human health?
EMF is produced by both natural and man-made means. EMF is a part of our everyday lives and is present around household appliances, electronics, as well as power lines. Whenever there is a flow of electricity, both electric and magnetic fields are created.
For over 40 years there has been a great deal of scientific studies to determine whether EMF affect human health. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a review of research on EMF and human health that was consistent with the findings of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and other national and international research reviews. The WHO report concluded that the cumulative evidence was not sufficient to indicate a causal relationship between EMF and any disease, including cancer.
The International Commission of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) established the health-based guideline for public exposure to EMF at 2,000 milliGause (mG). The extremely low frequency EMF associated with the SouthCoast Wind project will be substantially lower than the ICNIRP guidelines.
What are the noise impacts of the landfall and underground cabling?
Noise emitting activities during construction of the landfall and underground cabling will include excavation and installation of the trench, duct bank, and manhole system, as well as backfill and compaction, pavement restoration, and splicing activities. Sound levels will vary among these activities, depending on the equipment used. SouthCoast Wind will use equipment similar to those used in typical public works projects.
SouthCoast Wind will comply with applicable state air quality regulations regarding unnecessary noise from sound-emitting construction equipment.
During operation, cables will not produce noticeable noise.
What are the noise impacts of the converter station?
The converter station will contain sound-producing electrical equipment. As the converter station design is developed, and the converter station equipment and layout are refined, SouthCoast Wind will include noise as a key factor in the design and development process.
SouthCoast Wind will work to minimize noise impacts on nearby receptors using multiple potential strategies including, low-noise transformers, housing or enclosing of certain converter station components and sound barriers.
SouthCoast Wind will comply with all applicable state and local noise standards, including the 10 dBA limit at nearby residences and no “pure tones” as defined by the MassDEP Noise Policy.
Will the converter station have a fire safety plan?
SouthCoast Wind will have an emergency response plan that addresses fire safety as part of the project’s overall safety management system. The plan will include an incident response and command structure which involves working with first responders and local fire departments. The plan will incorporate the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) guidance for converter station fires and working with first responders.
Will the converter station have a spill response plan?
SouthCoast Wind will include spill response in its emergency response plan as part of the project’s overall safety management system. The emergency response and notification procedures included in the plan will be used for the management and avoidance of the release of fluids to the environment. SouthCoast Wind will coordinate with local fire departments in developing the plan and provide copies to other local response agencies. Proper spill containment kits and spill control accessories will be strategically placed at the converter station and will include absorbent pads, temporary berms, absorbent socks, drip pans, drain covers/plugs, and over pack containers all for immediate use in the event of any inadvertent spills or leaks. All operators will be trained in the use and deployment of this spill prevention equipment.
Do the transformers in your converter stations use PCB's or other hazardous materials?
The onshore converter stations will have non-PCB oil-filled transformers as part of the operating equipment. Mitigation measures for the unlikely event of an accidental release will be incorporated into the converter stations’ design (such as secondary containment around transformer equipment) and the maintenance activity (such as spill response plans).
How will the turbines withstand hurricanes, nor'easters, and other storms?
The design of wind turbine systems involves the use of models to understand how different loads, like winds and waves, will impact a wind turbine and its foundation during extreme situations. Design standards for offshore wind farms are based on lessons learned from turbines that have survived typhoons in Asia and on standards for offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, many of which have encountered major hurricanes.
Will extreme cold impact the turbines?
Cold-climate weatherized wind turbines regularly operate in frigid conditions, including the main U.S. research station in Antarctica. Developing ice-resistant coatings for blades is an ongoing area of research. However, the probability of ice occurrence modeled from 39 years of data at each sampling location within the SouthCoast Wind offshore lease area was averaged to be 2.32%.
Has SouthCoast Wind investigated possible battery storage of generated power during off peak times?
SouthCoast Wind recognizes that battery storage is an exciting technology that has significant economic and environmental benefits. Our analysis indicates that dedicated storage facilities physically closest to load sources, matching needed durations (such as urban neighborhoods or institutional campuses), would better serve peak support needs than storage systems co-located with offshore wind projects.
Do the export cables expose humans and other living things to any kind of dangerous emissions?
No. Neither the installation nor the operation of the project’s export cables will produce any dangerous emissions. SouthCoast Wind’s export cables are comparable to transmission infrastructure found in many locations across the United States, including all six New England states.