Coast Guard 5th District focused on wind farm navigation and commercial spaceflight

For example, hundreds of wind turbines, each taller than two football fields, will soon be installed in its jurisdiction. Then there is an increasing number of commercial space flight operations from NASA facilities on Wallops Island. Soon, more and more entities will use autonomous unmanned vessels, complicating navigation safety efforts.
When you add these new concerns to the growing number of fishing, pleasure and boating vessels that use the waters under his watch, Dickey – who oversees Coast Guard missions from North Carolina to New Jersey – has plenty to do. .

“How do we make sure that all of these things work in harmony with each other? Dickey asked attendees at a recent Virginia Maritime Association event.
“How do we deal with this kind of traffic? Dickey asked.

The Coast Guard must ensure that ships can operate safely around turbines and that its own ships can conduct search and rescue operations safely. In addition to the farms themselves, a host of construction, supply and support vessels will shuttle between the facilities.
Dickey said he has already seen ships on the two test wind turbines, which Dominion completed in October 2020. This is a harbinger of the explosive potential of the sector, according to a new report on the Hampton Roads marine industry. from the research agency TEconomy Partners. The report says the US offshore is expected to grow from 30 megawatts to 23 gigawatts over the next decade. Turbine manufacturing is also expected to grow from a $ 2.6 billion industry in 2018 to $ 5.2 billion by 2024.

These are not the only wind projects planned in Dickey Water. She said nine active projects and eight leases under consideration are in the mid-Atlantic region, including the two Hampton Roads wind farms.
Dominion Energy plans to build a 180-turbine wind farm 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coast by 2026. Avangrid Renewables also wants to build a 2,500 megawatt facility 27 miles from Corolla, North Carolina.

The Coast Guard will also monitor the growth of commercial spaceflight in the mid-Atlantic, Dickey said. It provides safe zones for Wallops Island when NASA launches its rockets. A company called Rocket Lab will begin launching small satellites from the facility, with larger satellites planned for the future.
“There’s just going to be massive growth offshore,” Dickey said. “It’s a really booming field. ”

© 2021 The Virginian-Pilot. Dickey said she needs to ensure how many launches her branch can accommodate and whether larger launches would interfere with U.S. Navy operations or other uses of the ocean.
Finally, Dickey said she expects to see more and more unmanned vessels at sea from users such as the Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, universities and research organizations and industry. commercial. Beyond knowing who exactly is piloting a particular vessel, Dickey said the Coast Guard was concerned about hacking attempts and the national security risks of adversary countries controlling the vessels.

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