APEM Completes Moray East Wildlife Survey

APEM’s digital aerial surveys have finished gathering data on marine wildlife for the Moray East offshore wind project off the coast of Scotland.

The 950MW Moray East will lie around 22 kilometres off the coast of Caithness in the Moray Firth. Thousands of ultra-high resolution images have been captured over an area of about 1,400 square kilometres around where the wind farm is planned, as part of a long-term monitoring of local wildlife.

Coastal parts of the Moray Firth have been designated as special protection areas for wildlife because of the internationally important numbers of seabirds that breed there.

Before construction of the wind farm commences, high-quality data on the wildlife in the area will allow regulators and the wind farm developers to monitor how local wildlife interacts with and behaves around the wind farm once it has been completed.

“Gathering these robust baseline data is where APEM comes in. Our state-of-the-art camera systems, mounted on specialist survey aircraft, fly carefully planned survey lines over the wind farm area,” Sean Sweeney, project manager at APEM, said.

“The thousands of detailed images they capture are then passed to our team of image analysts to identify the species of birds in the pictures. This information is then used to determine species abundance, distribution and behaviour across the wind farm and its surrounding area.”

Construction of the Moray East offshore wind farm is currently due to begin in July 2019. The wind farm will feature 100 MHI Vestas 9.5MW wind turbines.

The project is being developed by Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) Limited, a joint venture company owned by EDP Renewables (56.7%), ENGIE (23.3%) and Diamond Generating Europe Limited (DGE) (20%).