Virginia Agrees to Compensate Fishing Industry for Damage from Offshore Wind

From Bacon’s Rebellion

by Steve Haner

Nine states, including Virginia, have agreed to establish a major compensation fund to pay their private commercial and recreational fishing companies for damages caused by offshore wind turbines.  

Three guesses where the money comes from. The announcement, made December 12, hints at it coming from project developers, but in Virginia of course that is a monopoly utility guaranteed by law to collect all costs from its customers. Dominion Energy Virginia’s planned 176-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) just got more expensive. In other cases and other states, also expect the bill to end up with energy consumers or taxpayers.

If the worst fears over CVOW’s impact on commercial fishing prove correct, a shrinking supply of seafood from the continental shelf will likely raise the prices on what is still coming to stores and restaurants. People may pay more both ways.

In a move very reminiscent of how Europe operates, this effort comes under the umbrella of a non-governmental organization, or NGO. The industry and wind advocates dominate it, and questions about just what authority the federal government has to impose this (none) are sidestepped.

A ream of documents was released, including this news release, a scoping document on the issue, and information on how to file industry or public comments by the end of January. It is officially a request for information (RFI) process and may be followed by a request for proposals (RFP) to hire a fulltime regional fund administrator to manage the pot of money and process claims for decades to come. The RFI notes:

As a reminder, this RFI is focused on the management of funds, not the source of funds. Therefore, the questions the States encourage respondents to focus on include the following: How might States encourage developers’ participation in directing their compensatory mitigation to a regional fund? What mechanisms or procedures should be established to ensure administrative costs are kept at a fair but reasonable level? How should administrative costs be paid?

Apparently in meetings so far, and this all started in June of 2021, the fishing industry has been quite explicit in its concerns, also outlined in the documents. The following bullet points are collapsed into paragraphs to save space:

Potential lost revenue due to: • Displacement from a fishing area • Surveys of the lease or project areas • Pre-construction • During construction • Post construction (operations and maintenance) • Decommissioning • Up or downstream effects to shoreside fishing businesses • Transition from highly productive to less productive fishing ground • Reduced catch in lease areas • Devaluation of fishing business (vessel, shoreside, etc.) • Permit devaluation.

Potential increased costs due to: • Need to acquire new or modified gear • Need to acquire new or modified navigation equipment (e.g., radar) • Increased fishing effort (i.e., slower towing in an array, more time to haul traps within an array, etc.) • Transit time/cost around arrays or to new fishing areas • Increases in insurance costs • Dockage and offloading fees, as there is potential for competition for limited space in ports and harbors to increase.

No estimate of cost, initial or long term, is included anywhere. With that list, the phrase “blank check” comes to mind. Supporters of the proposal claim that the main focus will be on preventing impacts by working with industry on siting and operating rules.

Although compensation is the last step to consider regarding this mitigation hierarchy, the States agree that the availability of this option is vital to ensuring coexistence of robust and dynamic OSW energy and fishing industries. Experience to date with siting and development of OSW energy in the region indicates that a standardized framework is necessary to ensure compensation in addressing aggregated adverse economic effects on fisheries equitably and efficiently.

As with the concerns over the endangered right whale, it is not this or that individual wind project but the accumulated mass of windfarms up and down the entire East Coast, thousands of planned towers, which causes concerns. They are especially concentrated in the fish-rich waters of New England.

Former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) signed a June 2021 letter to President Joe Biden endorsing his call for 30 gigawatts or more of offshore wind, but raising concerns about damage to the fishing industry. Once he became governor, Glenn Youngkin also sent a letter to federal authorities on behalf of the fishing industry, including expressions of his strong support for the Dominion project. Virginia Mercury did a story at the time on industry concerns.

Discussions among the states, federal regulators and the industry about creating a compensation fund and a bureaucracy to administer claims reportedly started this summer, with the Youngkin Administration participating.

Unlike the whales and other large marine mammals, supersensitive to sounds and killed by boat collisions, commercial fishing stocks will probably thrive around the turbines. But every new project will make tens or hundreds of square miles of ocean off limits to commercial fishing. The documents note that active proposals now total 43 gigawatts, and the industry is just now looking at sites in the Gulf of Maine.

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joe x
December 14, 2022 3:07 am

leftists break everything they touch.

AGW is Not Science
December 14, 2022 3:40 am

I’ve got a better idea. DITCH OFFSHORE (AND ONSHORE) WIND INSTALLATIONS and then there will not BE any “damages” that need be “compensated” for.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
December 14, 2022 4:54 am

Good, common-sense suggestion.

Don’t cause damage in the first place. Stop the windmill building insanity!

Alarmists need to get over their unreasonable fear of CO2. It’s causing them to do really stupid, destructive things like trying to power a nation with windmills.

Last edited 3 months ago by Tom Abbott
December 14, 2022 3:57 am
  1. Fish are part of the environment.
  2. Fishing kills fish.
  3. Killing fish kills part of the environment.
  4. Stop fishing.
  5. Problem solved.

Is fishing sustainable? Let’s ask the fish. The rules have been created to favor humans. Back to eating acorns and bugs.

Reply to  rovingbroker
December 14, 2022 4:44 am

Is fishing sustainable”?

There are still fish in the seas and rivers.

George W Bush claimed that we can coexist in peace with fish, but sharks and rays etc were not consulted…

Reply to  rovingbroker
December 14, 2022 5:56 am

You go first. Never ask me to do something you are unwilling to do yourself.

Reply to  rovingbroker
December 14, 2022 6:34 am

Exhaling produces CO2. Stop exhaling, problem solved

December 14, 2022 4:02 am

Yet again, a so-called green solution leads to an exponential number of problems – making people’s live worse and much more expensive than they would otherwise be.

Tom in Florida
December 14, 2022 4:36 am

“creating a compensation fund and a bureaucracy to administer claims…”
The bureaucracy will grow and grow and grow and the cost of administration will grow along with it. More and more government to address a problem of their own making.

December 14, 2022 4:58 am

Every solution has an equal and opposite problem.

December 14, 2022 5:20 am

Two questions.
*Is it possible that these wind sites will act as de-facto conservation areas which might improve fish stocks across the seaboard?
*Is there a clause in the permit to the effect that when the turbines reach the end of life, the installations will be completely removed, including any lumps of concrete protruding from the sea bed, with ring fencing for the requisite finance?

December 14, 2022 5:58 am

So, we all knew they were going to steal money from customers. The question remains, where will the fish come from? China? Venezuela?

Philip CM
December 14, 2022 6:11 am

I believe the blades were to be constructed above water.
🤔 😏

December 14, 2022 6:41 am

I can see the compensation during construction and decommissioning. Not during O&M because the time and space required will be trivial.

But then, if the subsea support structure is anything like that of OCS oil and gas platforms, the catch will be greatly enhanced. Offshore California recreational fishing was given a shot in the arm by the platforms. The ocean deck’s were so covered in ocean living mammalia that you had to step around them. The subsea structures are such great habitat, that it was a chore shooing off the fishing boats during crane operations. Fishing was probably the hottest legal off shift activity.

The tower operator should allow diving as a sop to the locals, with properly weasel worded waivers of course. Since the human activity level will be orders of magnitude lower than that of an oil and gas platform, I think it could be practical. Just the harvest of tasty crustaceans – clean due to the lack of ocean outfall of produced water – would make it a trophy dive spot.

Reply to  bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 8:21 am

Of course you don’t see any problems.
Fishing nets are very large. Trying to maneuver them through a grid of wind mill towers will not be easy, In many cases they will have to use smaller nets, which means more cost.

Reply to  MarkW
December 14, 2022 8:37 am

“Fishing nets are very large. Trying to maneuver them through a grid of wind mill towers will not be easy, In many cases they will have to use smaller nets, which means more cost.”

The actual area is vanishingly small, the towers are far apart (to avoid wind interference), so they will be quite easy to navigate around. That’s why that concern wasn’t part of the Mercury article. The main effect of the project will be 176 additional fish and seafood nurseries, This is also one of the reasons that the oil and gas producers are pimping “rigs to reefs” for their asset retirement obligations. And since those fish will not swim exclusively under the towers…

The California experience is relevant. Assuming that the subsurface support structures are similar to those of the Cal OCS platforms, the only differences are that these towers will be farther offshore, and that the fish won’t be ingesting hydrocarbons from ocean outfall.

Last edited 3 months ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 8:58 am

Tuna lines can be over a mile long.

If extra reefs are required to encourage fish to breed we can sink decommissioned ships instead of running them up beaches in India.

The oil rigs you refer to have been in the same location for decades. In 15 years or so most of these wind turbines will have to be entirely replaced.

Bang goes your reefs.

Reply to  HotScot
December 14, 2022 9:28 am

Bang goes your reefs.”

Agree with the “bang”. Disagree on “your reefs”. I think rigs to reefs sux. I was just parroting the producers. It leaves a fishing net hazard. and most rigs have accumulated lots of naturally occurring radioactive material in their lives from scaly water. The reason the producers are pimping them is to avoid removal costs.

I think that both wind towers and offshore oil and gas structures should be entirely removed when their work is done. FYI, since the resource is wind, those towers will be replaced. ITMT, both types of non floating structures are both fish/seafood nurseries. One with aqueous toxins, one without. .

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  HotScot
December 14, 2022 9:33 am

The largest ship deliberately sunk to form an artificial reef was the USS Oriskany (CV-34) the last Essex class Aircraft Carrier ordered in WW2.
I believe the preparation, getting rid of asbestos, oil and other nasty stuff was very expensive.
The reef has been a success as far as divers and fish are concerned, not sure about fishermen or their opinions

Reply to  bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 8:27 pm

Distance between is dependent on the length of the blades.
Even if they can be maunevered between, the fact that they have to keep a minimum distance from the towers means they can’t adopt the most efficient trawling pattern.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 8:33 am

Norwegian company Equinor is on target to install 7 of its floating wind turbines in the Hywind Tampen offshore wind farm by the end of the year. Ultimately 11 will be installed. No platforms.

Ironically, for some, the turbines will supply electricity to offshore oil and gas platforms and the use of such floating turbines is”gathering traction” for offshore oil and gas around the world.

Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 14, 2022 8:44 am

Good idea. Oil and gas platform power is always a challenge. The California platforms were plugged into shore, and the contracts (ridiculously) contained temporary shut offs during high demand periods. Try restarting dozens of electrical submergible pumps that were abruptly shut down! You are quite likely faced with at least one 6 figure pump pull, with the corresponding lost oil production.

But are the towers under discussion here floating? I’m guessing not, since the bitch is about fishing problems during construction and decommissioning. But if so, I stand corrected.

Last edited 3 months ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 9:07 am

Your scenarios are utterly inconsequential in terms of oil production overall.

Reply to  HotScot
December 14, 2022 9:29 am


It doesnot add up
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 12:58 pm

I’m sure that finding your power dies because the turbines are becalmed would be much more of a concern.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 14, 2022 1:02 pm

If it caused the project to fail to meet incremental ROR hurdle rates, yes indeed. RU concerned that the projectors don’t know this?

Last edited 3 months ago by bigoilbob
It doesnot add up
Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 14, 2022 12:57 pm

The only reason that Equinor is doing that is because they are being stung with an outlandish rate of carbon tax if they do not. The justification is in saving the carbon tax, which has been set high enough to ensure that they jump.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 1:42 pm

It seems that research has been a bit minimal so far. Perhaps offshore wind farm developers are afraid of what it might show, and discourage it. I did find this:

Although current research suggests that OWFs have a predominantly negative impact on their surrounding marine environments, due to damaging impacts of construction and ongoing noise pollution, it must still be noted that some of these negative impacts are counteracted by positive effects. For example, although the construction of an OWF destroys the seabed habitat, in the long term it creates a new habitat that may be colonized by different species. Similarly, OWFs are introducing foreign species, however they are also increasing local biodiversity. More research is needed to determine to what extent the negative impacts of OWFs are offset by the positive impacts.

A bit double-edged, I think…

David Wojick
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 4:04 pm

The subsea support structure is a single monopole so not useful to marine life. But the operational noise is intense, far above that deemed safe by NOAA.

OSW is nothing like oil platforms.

Reply to  David Wojick
December 14, 2022 4:34 pm

A monopole is a terrific site for crustaceans. They will make it their home in days. Fish eat them. These turbines will also have at least some ocean deck. And I’m not seeing any linked backup for the sound pressure values in the paid up Climate Depot article. Nada beyond “research suggests”.

OTOH, it only took a few seconds to find a recent, peer reviewed, bibiographed, amply cited article that says otherwise. The turbines will put out less than the ship traffic that will be kept farther away by their presence,

But a bone throw. Appease the fisherman. A small price to pay….

Reply to  David Wojick
December 14, 2022 8:31 pm

In deeper water, towers are tied to anchors embedded in the sea floor by cables.

Reply to  bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 7:27 pm

A big difference between wind turbines and oil platforms is that every complete turn of the turbine (through 360 degrees) generates three very high energy pulses of very low frequency sound. Water is a very good conductor of such sound. It has known adverse effects upon living organisms, even though almost no one wants to acknowledge the research that has been done.

Reply to  AndyHce
December 15, 2022 6:13 am

Interesting that it is not discussed as part of the fisherman’s reparations request. Did I miss it? But thankfully WUWT allows links. Would you please show us some of this research?

Last edited 3 months ago by bigoilbob
December 14, 2022 6:53 am

The U.S. is going to be so economically screwed by the European wind companies, making oodles of $$ selling, erecting and maintaining the highly subsidized European wind turbines, which, in a salt water environment, have proven to last at most 15 years, provided significant, expensive maintenance is performed, in a timely manner, based on North Sea and Baltic Sea experience.

What in hell happens, when there is an East Coast wind lull lasting several days, as happens several times a year?

Several thousand gigawatt-hours of Utility-grade battery systems, at $500/kWh, delivered as AC at battery system voltage, coming to the rescue?

Where will the electricity come from to power those 12 states, especially during peak and heat wave hours?

There will be NO $$SAVINGS

Fisheries will go out of business anyway, because the cost of a pound of fish will at least double.
No one will be able to afford to eat fish!!

There will be minimal CO2 REDUCTIONS, plus CO2 cannot be warming the planet, because its infra-red absorption frequencies already are almost entirely saturated.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  wilpost
December 14, 2022 9:04 am

Re wind lulls, in the summer and early autumn of 2021 a long period of low wind speed badly affected wind generation across Europe. In the UK SSE said it’s unreliables produced 32% less power than expected.

Indeed April – September 2021 was the least windy period for most of the UK and parts of Ireland for 65 years. For what it’s worth, I note the IPCC have suggested that European wind speeds will reduce by up to 10% as a result of climate change.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 14, 2022 9:40 am

Looking at Gridwatch this year hasn’t been particularly windy either. Not many claims of a month with coal generation on the grid, possibly just May.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 14, 2022 1:01 pm

Plus wind shadow is an increasing problem as the North Sea wind farm carpet increases. Optimistic capacity factor forecasts underpin all the big push for wind: they don’t look like being realised.

Reply to  wilpost
December 14, 2022 7:36 pm

No one will be able to afford to eat fish!!

Have you verified that with Bill Gates?

It doesnot add up
December 14, 2022 7:13 am

Virginia’s coastline is mostly onto Chesapeake Bay, with barely any Atlantic coast at all. Is the plan to fill the bay with wind farms?

December 14, 2022 7:50 am

Who? Who will protect the birds?

December 14, 2022 7:55 am

Why does it seem like so many “green” projects and policies impact food production?

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Tony_G
December 14, 2022 9:05 am

How else are you going to reduce world population ?

Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 14, 2022 10:32 am

It certainly reinforces that as being the real goal, doesn’t it, Dave?

December 14, 2022 9:45 am

Misanthropes like Attenborough never criticise wind farms and the ecological damage they do to environments and animal / insect species – just one reason they are ignored and distrusted by the vast majority of peoples

Philip CM
December 14, 2022 7:50 pm

I can’t believe that an environmental study wasn’t done beforehand.
Because they did and it was approved 2016.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced its approval of the first wind energy Research Activities Plan (RAP) for a facility to be located in U.S. federal waters.
Last year, BOEM awarded a research lease to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) on the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Virginia.” 

So… what has changed? The entire endeavor became a government money trough thanks to CAGW/ESG. Follow the Big Government Benjamin’s!

Personally, I think it’s all about finding out just how much taxpayer money the local fishing industry will demand, and how much they will finally accept as social justice.

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