With more dedicated spill response capability than any other U.S. OSRO and the largest network of vetted contractors trained in spill response, MSRC is well positioned to develop credible response strategies for offshore wind projects off the Eastern Seaboard. These strategies would consider both the construction phase and the operating phase of these projects. Once wind farms are operating, although individual wind turbines carry several thousand gallons of diesel, lubricants and hydraulics, their power stations or “ESPs” pose the largest spill risk in offshore windfarms.
Many of today’s offshore wind projects are being proposed outside of high-volume port zones, in areas that have various particular environmental sensitivities and considerations posted by Area Contingency Plans. These environments require more complex strategies for a capable oil spill response solution. Furthermore, the Eastern Seaboard does not have the support vessel supply that the Gulf coast has that can be relied upon as vessels of opportunity. These are challenges that MSRC is prepared to work through with plan writers and the operating companies of renewable power projects.
The inherent challenge to developing response strategies for offshore wind today is that the regulatory requirements for offshore wind have not yet been developed and prescribed by the regulating authority BOEM. The closest comparative would be Offshore Facility plans that stipulate the amount of boom, skimming capacity, and storage capacity required in a 6-hour, 12-hour and 24-hour timeline for offshore facilities with similar WCD scenarios.
The construction phase is an even grayer area to navigate. In addition, some Area Contingency Plans may have specific considerations for shoreline protection, depending on the project's proximity to islands with environmental sensitivities. MSRC can work with offshore wind project developers to craft credible response strategies for capable spill response to a variety of scenarios. It is important that MSRC is contracted with the entity that would be liable for the spill (the responsible party or “RP”). MSRC cannot contract as OSRO with third-party contractors or project management companies on behalf of the operating company.