Consortium team ups with marine body to study environmental impact of floating wind

An energy consortium bidding for offshore wind leases has teamed up with the Scottish Association for Marine Science to study the potential effects of new developments on the marine environment.

Earlier this year, Danish firm Ørsted agreed a partnership with Italian peer Falck Renewables and floating wind specialist BlueFloat Energy to participate in the ScotWind leasing round.

Areas under discussion for future research projects if the consortium’s bids are successful range from investigating how fishing interests and offshore wind can work together, to a study into how fish, marine mammals and seabirds interact with floating wind farms.

Duncan Clark, Head of Region UK at Ørsted, said: “The potential for generating power from floating offshore wind as we move towards a net zero world is immense.

Ørsted’s Hornsea One Offshore Wind Farm.

“With all new technology it is vital to ensure that it is carefully designed with the environment in mind and that we fully understand any effects it might have on the marine ecosystem and how to avoid and mitigate them.

“This work with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) aligns with Ørsted’s strong commitment to protect biodiversity.”

Mike Spain, head of SAMS Enterprise, said: “Given SAMS’ wide research portfolio, we have an interest in contributing to the resolution of several data gaps in floating offshore wind research.

“Collaboration with Falck Renewables, Ørsted and BlueFloat Energy will allow for some of these issues to be explored in detail, which would be of great benefit to the wider sector and to other stakeholders.”

Future studies could also focus on increasing the role of marine robotics in collecting data before and after the construction of floating offshore wind farms at remote sites.

Richard Dibley, managing director of Falck Renewables Wind, said: “Our track record is of working as closely as possible with the communities around our developments.

“We’re currently carrying out a consultation into how Scottish communities could benefit from community ownership of offshore wind and a similar study to work out how the fishing industry and the offshore wind could peacefully and profitably coexist fits in well with our approach.”

Carlos Martin, chief executive of BlueFloat Energy, added: “Floating wind is fast emerging as a game changer for the energy transition.”

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