Offshore Wind Spill Exercise Held for Northeast Region
OCT. 10, 2023 — On October 2, 2023, the NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator (SSC) for the Northeast accompanied representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sector Southeastern New England to a tabletop exercise hosted by Vineyard Wind in New Bedford, Massachusetts. A representative from the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement oversaw the drill that was facilitated by representatives from the National Response Corporation.
The exercise, which involved a release of 20,000 gallons of dielectric fluid, was designed to provide the Vineyard Wind incident management team with the chance to walk through a hypothetical spill scenario. This was also a unique opportunity for the SSC and the USCG as it was the first time that an exercise pertaining to the offshore wind industry, which is rapidly developing in New England, was conducted.
Lessons learned from the exercise include challenges with identifying and tracking dielectric fluid, as well as understanding the environmental fate of dielectric fluid.