OffshoreMW has selected Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey to conduct seabed profiling for the 1GW Vineyard offshore wind project off Massachusetts.

Alpine research vessel Shearwater will head out Friday to carry out geophysical surveys, OffshoreMW executive VP Erich Stephens told reNEWS.

The 110-foot vessel will map the sea floor and measure water depths, primarily in the northeast section of the 166,886-acre (675 square km) lease area, which starts about 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Alpine is part of UK-based Gardline Marine Sciences Group. The campaign is expected to take three to four weeks, depending on the weather, said Stephens.

This is the first step of data collection and assessment that OffshoreMW plans to undertake over the next several years. “Our focus is on getting the geological surveys done this year,” said Stephens.

A different vessel is expected to conduct geotechnical work, including deep borings and cone penetration tests, in October.

“The plan is to have it ready to go as soon as the geophysical survey work is wrapped up,” said Stephens.

OffshoreMW, along with rival developers Dong and Deepwater Wind, have agreed to lease the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal in Massachusetts as a staging and deployment port for offshore wind construction.

Massachusetts is developing a procurement program after the state last month adopted an energy bill that requires utilities to contract 1.6GW of offshore wind power by July 2027.

The first tender round is expected to take place in mid-2017.

Image: a survey vessel at work (Gardline)