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Technology Workshops

Photo credit: CMA CGM

RWSC, in partnership with two US Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories (the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory), with support from the DOE and contributions from NOAA and BOEM, will host a series of workshops aimed at assessing the state of the science regarding technologies, tools, and methods for monitoring marine mammals around offshore wind construction activities that can augment protected species observers during low and high-visibility pile driving and other siting and construction activities that require marine mammal monitoring.

These workshops will fit within a larger workshop series led by the RWSC’s Technology Subcommittee to advance the findings and recommendations in the Technology chapter of the RWSC Science Plan.

Read more below.

This page will be updated with workshop dates, agendas, and other information.

Partners & Support

Support from several partners across Sectors for providing capacity for workshops to advance Science Plan recommendations:

  • RWSC will ensure consistency with Science Plan objectives/recommendations and that RWSC partners have the opportunity to participate.
  • The Marine Technology Society (MTS) will engage their Offshore Renewable Energy Committee and other MTS community members.
  • DOE’s National Laboratories (NREL and PNNL), under the leadership of the RWSC and their Technology Subcommittee and in consultation with NOAA, BOEM, and DOE, will convene a group of experts and relevant stakeholders to discuss available whale detection technologies.​
  • Opportunity to leverage NOWRDC-funded technology gap/readiness analysis by Advisian/BRI – forthcoming report.
  • Use next NYSERDA State of the Science Workshop (July 2024) as opportunity to hold workshop sessions and/or technology showcases.
  • NOAA & BOEM leadership, ACP, and eNGOs supportive and commit to participate. Read the summary of the Nov. 1, 2023 Whales & Offshore Wind Technology Summit.

RWSC Technology Workshop Series

Draft objectives, invitees, and agenda(s) for an RWSC Technology Workshop Series will be refined and further developed by a multi-sector working group of the RWSC Technology Subcommittee. RWSC invited participation to the working group in August and September 2023. At minimum, members of the working group will include RWSC Technology Subcommittee members (includes experts from federal and state agencies, offshore wind companies, technology startups, and the research community) and other interested members/experts within RWSC’s four Sector Caucuses – Federal, State, eNGO, Offshore Wind Industry. RWSC is also actively inviting participation from entities with experience in marine technology evaluation and applications within the offshore wind industry.

Multi-sector and collaborative workshops will help advance the findings and recommendations in the Technology chapter of the RWSC Science Plan:

  • Technology advancements provide the potential to accelerate multiple phases of offshore wind development by improving our ability to anticipate, detect, and mitigate potential impacts to wildlife and the ecosystem.
  • There are three categories of interest to the Subcommittee where new technologies need to be tested and applied: monitoring, mitigation, and data management. Many projects are already being funded to test and/or advance new technologies for the purposes of addressing offshore wind and wildlife/environment interactions within these categories, and the Subcommittee should continue to track the implementation and results of such projects.
  • There is a need to develop criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of new technology with respect to “traditional methods” or other new technologies.

Draft Workshop Series Agenda

Agenda development will be conducted by the working group and coordinated with partners advancing complementary efforts, including NOAA staff who are designing and planning the North Atlantic Right whale vessel strike risk reduction technology workshop. The dates and locations of workshop sessions will be coordinated with existing offshore wind conferences and events to the extent practicable.

Part 1: Sharing ongoing work and lessons learned

Part 2: Working towards consistent technology performance metrics across technologies

Part 3: Collaborative opportunities to trial performance metrics (potentially for a specific technology)

Potential Workshop Outputs

The multi-sector working group will consider potential outputs that would provide the necessary information and/or tools to RWSC partners to advance the topic of technology evaluation and implementation. Specific workshop objectives, invitees, and agendas will be designed to produce these collaboratively defined outputs.

> DOE Workshop Sessions

Evaluation of Tools and Technologies for Detecting Marine Mammals around Offshore Wind Construction Activities

The workshops aim to support the evaluation of existing technologies, develop a technical framework for evaluating efficacy of existing and new technologies, as well as inform the rapid development and deployment of new and advanced technologies that can further improve the ability to detect, monitor, and avoid negative interactions with marine mammals with offshore wind facility construction.  The workshop series will focus on technologies that may be used on the US Northeast coast in the near-term; however outcomes may be broadly applicable to other regions of the US as well.

The workshop series will produce a series of technical papers, followed by peer reviewed publications that will:

  • Identify variables by which technology efficacy can be assessed
  • Detail the efficacy, application to date, and extent of validation of existing tools and techniques
  • Analyze technology development needs and identify additional technology development or validation needs

Proposed Activities: Workshops on the State of the Science of Tools and Technologies for Detecting Marine Mammals around Offshore Wind Construction Activities


DOE’s National Laboratories, under the leadership of the RWSC and their Technology Subcommittee and in consultation with The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and DOE, will convene a group of experts and relevant stakeholders to discuss available whale detection technologies (likely several workshops held over several days). Attendees would be provided with a draft technical paper (see below) ahead of each workshop for them to review and arrive ready to discuss. Workshop discussions would include the following topics:

  • Identify technical performance evaluation criteria.
    • e.g., scale of coverage, detection rate, false positive and negative rates, ability to localize and track, ability to speciate, system uptime and reliability, communication capacity, model vs. in situ testing, etc.
    • Methods for validation and testing alongside Technology Readiness Levels (e.g., modeling, lab-based, open-water, false targets, real targets, cross-comparison of methods)
  • Review existing technologies or classes of monitoring technologies and the state of validation and efficacy.
    • Including:
      • Individual technologies (e.g., Passive Acoustic Monitoring, satellite imagery, thermal and infrared imaging, visual cameras) e-DNA sequencing, platforms (e.g., buoys, boats, UAVs, aircrafts), and software.
      • Extent of validation to date, based on parameters defined in the first technical paper.
    • Discuss how individual existing technologies and techniques be combined to detect marine mammals at very high rates of detection, noting where new technologies could help fill current gaps
      • Integrated technologies/techniques (e.g., integrating tools that monitor across a range of scales, combining human observers with real time monitoring technologies, integrated technology packages)
      • Challenges (e.g., feasibility, cost, health and safety)
    • Identify performance and validation gaps.
      • e.g., Software platform for integrating data-streams, ruggedization, offshore testing, further validations, testing alongside observers, machine learning tools, etc.
  • Identify near-term validation opportunities for OSW deployment and longer-term performance and validation needs. 

Products: (All products will be reviewed by agency and external experts)

1 – RWSC Workshop Summaries: Proceedings of each workshop session by RWSC that capture the discussions and views shared by participants.

2 – Technology Performance Metrics Technical Paper

  • Objective: Document performance variables by which monitoring technology efficacy can be measured – recognizing that there may be differences in performance variables based on the type of technology. This pre-workshop brief will be developed prior to the corresponding workshop and provided to attendees. The final version will incorporate information from the workshop, as well as peer review.

3 – Technology Readiness Review Technical Paper

4 – Technology Validation and R&D Needs Technical Paper

  • Objective: Identify future needs and opportunities for technology development and validation.
    • This technical paper will identify:
      • Near-term validation efforts to advance the deployment of whale monitoring detection technologies (for those technologies not assessed to be deployment-ready),
      • Longer-term technology testing and validation needs to fill identified gaps in current efficacy and validation, and
      • Potential areas for future R&D to increase efficacy.

Following the publication of technical papers, authors will develop relevant manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

> Other RWSC Workshop Sessions

The DOE sessions (above) will fit within a larger workshop series led by the RWSC’s Technology Subcommittee to advance the findings and recommendations in the Technology chapter of the RWSC Science Plan. Additional sessions would seek to advance additional technologies for additional taxa.

Related Events Hosted by Others

RWSC is coordinating its activities with those sponsored and hosted by partners:

  • Predictive tools for North Atlantic Right Whales Workshop
    • Host: BOEM
    • December 2023 (more info TBD)
  • International Partnering Forum 2024
    • Host: Oceantic Network (formerly Business Network for Offshore Wind)
    • April 22-25, 2024 | New Orleans, LA
    • RWSC and collaborators proposed sessions related to technology development applications to advance offshore wind monitoring and mitigation.