Vattenfall is set to invest in bird research at its European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in the Aberdeen Bay, Scotland.
Bird specialists will be tasked with monitoring the avoidance behaviour of birds flying in the vicinity of EOWDC's eleven wind turbines.
The investment is part of the EOWDC’s EUR 3 million scientific programme, supported by a panel of experts which includes RSPB Scotland, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Marine Scotland Science and Scottish Natural Heritage.
Vattenfall is calling on bird specialists to bid for research funding from Thursday, 1 November 2018. The successful funding applicant will start their research from spring 2019, with monitoring anticipated to last two or three years.
“The industry, decision makers and ornithology specialists rightly take great care when assessing the impact of offshore wind turbines on bird populations. The more data we have, the more confident that decision making can be,'' Danielle Lane, Vattenfall’s UK Country Manager, said.
“That’s why we expect this research, combined with others, to boost understanding and improve collision prediction models. This will go a long way to helping smooth the path for fossil-free offshore wind to make a telling contribution in the fight against climate change.”
The research will focus on the northern gannet, black-legged kittiwake and large gulls such as great black-backed gull and herring gull.
The EOWDC’s EUR 3million scientific research programme, supported by the EU, was set up to understand the environmental impacts of offshore wind. The programme is believed to be the largest research programme of its kind in the UK. It was recently shortlisted for the RSPB Nature of Scotland Sustainable Development Award 2018 which recognises excellence, innovation and outstanding achievements in nature conservation.
“The EOWDC research programme has already produced important results and this latest call for bids will hopefully facilitate research that will shed light on bird behaviour and collisions at offshore wind farms,'' Aly McCluskie, Senior Conservation Scientist with RSPB Scotland, said:
“There is currently considerable uncertainty in our understanding of how birds behave in the vicinity of wind turbines, and we need to greatly improve this understanding in order to be able to accurately predict and prevent adverse impacts on bird populations. The UK is currently undergoing an unprecedented expansion in offshore wind farm development and while we welcome the urgent transition to renewable energy to tackle climate change, it is crucial that this should not be at the expense of our wildlife.”