APEM has commenced aerial wildlife surveys at Ørsted’s 573MW Race Bank wind farm located offshore North Norfolk in the UK.
The company said its aircraft-mounted survey cameras will collect over 100,000 high-resolution images in and around the wind farm, with each pixel of every image corresponding to two centimeters on the sea’s surface.
The collected data is expected to help scientists and regulators determine the requirements for monitoring birds in the wind farm area, particularly for various species of tern such as sandwich, common and little terns, which colonize and breed along the coast of North Norfolk, including in a Special Protection Area.
A total of ten surveys will be completed this year, carried out twice per month from April to August, as this is said to be the key time of year for breeding terns.
“Our scientific understanding of how birds behave around wind farms has advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years, thanks in no small part to advanced aerial monitoring techniques,” APEM’s Head of Ornithology, Dr. Mark Rehfisch, said.
“This is equally important before, during and – in this case – after construction of the wind farm and we’re delighted to be working closely with Ørsted to collect high quality data.”
Further surveys of the birds and wildlife in the project area may take place in the following years, APEM said.
The Race Bank offshore wind farm comprises 91 6MW Siemens Gamesa turbines, which Ørsted and project partners Macquarie and Sumitomo officially inaugurated on 13 June.