GBP 3 Million Investment to Reduce Offshore Wind Consenting Risks

GBP 3 Million Investment to Reduce Offshore Wind Consenting Risks

The Crown Estate, Marine Scotland and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have commissioned the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) to form the Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP).

The programme has been created to reduce the consenting risks for large-scale offshore wind farms during the Round 3 and Scottish Territorial Waters processes and beyond.

The programme will see £3m of public and private sector funding invested in research over the next three years. The work will generate scientific evidence to provide greater certainty on the potential environmental impacts of offshore wind developments, in order to reduce consenting risks for developers. This work is important for future offshore wind developments from 2017 onwards.

ORJIP will initially focus on two work streams, namely:

  • Bird collision risk and avoidance rate monitoring
  • Investigating the use of deterrent devices and injury avoidance mitigation for marine mammals during piling works

The programme also aims to identify and run further research projects to de-risk offshore renewables project applications, which may include topics such as:

  • Evidence gathering for a population consequences of acoustic disturbance model for marine mammals
  • Underwater noise mitigation technologies

Tendering for the bird collision and avoidance rate monitoring project is now underway. This innovative research project is on a scale unseen before in the UK. The project is likely to begin in the next few months with data collection beginning early in 2014 and will be conducted over a two year period. The results will help refine and inform the assumptions used to estimate bird collisions and avoidance behaviour.

A desk-top study into technologies to prevent potential injuries to marine mammals during offshore wind piling has also been completed and has been published on the ORJIP website. This study may be extended to include the field testing of acoustic devices that can deter mammals from construction and piling activity zones.

A report published energy consultancy Xodus Group, and its project partners SMRU Marine, recommends how offshore wind farm operators and regulators can minimise the effects of noise during offshore turbine piling and reduce injury to marine mammals. The independent review, entitled ‘Use of Deterrent Devices and Improvements to Standard Mitigation during Piling’ was commissioned for Phase 1 of Project 4 of the Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP). It is the first publication in the ORJIP series to focus on such risks and has been published on the Carbon Trust’s ORJIP website.

Michael Fallon, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “I welcome the publication of this joint industry and Government report. It is essential that all industry stakeholders continue to work together to implement the report’s recommendations. This will increase the protection given to marine mammals, help us meet our renewable energy targets and encourage more investment in the offshore wind industry.”


Press release, November 6, 2013; Image: Xodus