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Changing shipping routes for wind

June 2, 2014--Rerouting ships to open up areas for offshore wind development could save billions of dollars in construction and operating costs for the renewable energy source, according to new findings by the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).

The savings come at a relatively small expense for sending commercial ships slightly farther out to sea when traveling between Mid-Atlantic ports, the research shows. The analysis was part of an economic study on societal costs and benefits of allocating ocean space off the coast for wind energy development.

Offshore wind projects are being considered in the United States with aims of improving air quality, increasing energy security and supporting domestic manufacturing. Numerous factors play into decisions on where to place wind turbines, from wildlife migrations and fishing hotspots to boat traffic, ocean depth and seafloor geology.