ORE Catapult Narrows Search for Bird Tracking Solution

Four companies selected under ORE Catapult’s innovation challenge to develop new bird tagging solutions are now in talks with UK offshore wind developers to further refine their products.

Image source: ORE Catapult

The four companies, Pathtrack, Movetech Telemetry, Ornitela and Debug Innovations, have proposed solutions such as a small backpack containing a solar charger to keep the battery going, and a tag which attaches discreetly to the tail feathers.

The innovation challenge was supported by Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) Ltd, Beatrice Offshore Wind Ltd, Marine Science Scotland, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The companies have entered discussions with Moray Offshore (East) Ltd and Beatrice Offshore Wind Ltd with a view to deploying the tags for monitoring birds around the forthcoming wind farm developments in the Moray Firth, Scotland.

The companies are now working to specific performance targets to find the best technology to help monitor bird behaviors and test fully prior to deployment.

The aim of the project is to find a more reliable and robust tag for seabirds that can deliver truly accurate data on bird behavior over the course of 12 months and improve on existing, accepted methods.

“Environmental monitoring is already a big part of any wind farm planning and post-construction monitoring, onshore and offshore and so we are always looking for new ways to improve monitoring, and take advantage of new innovations in, for example, batteries and solar power,” Catarina Rei, Technical Lead on the project for EDP Renewables, who is developing Moray East, said.

“Developing new techniques and methods is an essential step in improving what we do. We’ll be able to gain a greater insight into bird and coastal species behaviour, which will better inform the planning, consenting and operational stage of an offshore wind farm development.”