How Successful Is Cooperative Research and Monitoring?

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Reviewed by: Dr. Lyndie Hice-Dunton and Jeff Grybowski

Last Update: September 16th, 2020

At the Global Ocean Summit Series: Session 4, Dr. Lyndie Hice-Dunton (Executive Director, Responsible Offshore Science Alliance) and Jeff Grybowski (Former CEO of Deepwater Wind) explain how successful cooperative research and monitoring for offshore development has been and the predicted trajectory for its future.

Hice-Dunton begins by stating that there is a demand from researchers to coordinate offshore development research and monitoring regionally; and, offshore wind developers are beginning to realize that there is utility in doing so.

The goal of cooperative research and monitoring is to streamline the process for all involved parties by collecting good data, considering relevant questions and building partnerships. Doing so can provide developers with a succinct list of stakeholder expectations to adhere to while simultaneously granting scientists, stakeholders and regulators an opportunity to speak to what specific questions, data and information should be included in a monitoring plan. This also provides an opportunity to integrate information from existing studies that ask similar questions.

ROSA has begun to host conversations between developers, researchers and state & federal agencies to ask the question— how can we coordinate this research regionally? The organization’s long-term goal is to enact standards of best practice for the region; but, until this becomes a reality, ROSA is working to guide individual development monitoring plans to include rigorous hypothesis-driven science that has the statistical power to answer questions.

The reason for the involvement of developers may vary but ROSA’s overarching goal is to collaborate on a process that is as universal as possible while considering the project- or site-specific questions and how they may impact the large marine ecosystem (LME) scale.

Grybowski says that, in general, most developers would be supportive of the concept of a coordinated monitoring program. He makes the point that “we’re very likely to get there but… you have a fairly immature industry in the U.S. where most of the developers and companies are just catching up to the tremendous growth that we’re seeing. They’re all on different timelines [and] focused on their individual projects… The industry is not at the point where coordinated collective efforts for long-term programs are at the highest level of priority.”

So, the work to build the trust between developers and programs is important and will bear fruit over time but will not be immediate. Grybowski also notes that it is important to remember that all of the offshore wind development entities are highly competitive.