Ørsted Invests in Birdlife Monitoring AI Tech
Ørsted and venture capital firms Nysnø Climate Investments (Nysnø), Wiski Capital, Norrsken Foundation, and Antler have invested, via a seed funding round, in a “deep-tech” start-up Spoor that is developing an artificial intelligence (AI) system to monitor and track birdlife at offshore wind farms.
Ørsted will enter into a partnership with Spoor to help test and commercialise the new technology to collect more and better birdlife data at its offshore wind farms around the world, said the company.
By working with Spoor, Ørsted will continue to improve its understanding of how birds behave while travelling in the vicinity of its wind farms, according to the Danish developer.
“With a better understanding of bird behavior, wind farm design can be further optimized in line with Ørsted’s commitment to deliver renewable energy that has a net-positive biodiversity impact for all new energy projects commissioned from 2030”, Ørsted said in a press release.
Monitoring bird behaviour can be challenging, says the company, which is why the offshore wind industry currently uses precautionary models to estimate possible collisions at wind farms when designing them.
Several recent studies, including ones supported by Ørsted, suggest that actual collisions are fewer than currently modelled.
According to Ørsted, Spoor’s AI system can increase confidence in those predictions, thus increasing their knowledge base and helping them build robust statistical evidence in this field.
“Rapid energy transition is a crucial piece of the puzzle in halting and reversing biodiversity loss, as climate change is increasingly one of its biggest causes. But more new wind infrastructure means more interaction with the natural world, which climate action seeks to protect”, said the Danish company.
“That’s why Ørsted is looking for new ways to further improve itsunderstanding of that interaction – to minimise potential negative impact alongside action to proactively enhance biodiversity”.
Tracking Birds Using AI
According to Ørsted, the benefit of Spoor’s system, compared to available alternatives such as the combination of high-specification cameras, radars, and human observers, is that the company’s AI technology has been developed to accurately identify and track birds specifically.
The Spoor system has no blind spots and is more cost-effective than the alternatives, Ørsted said.
Once the technology is tested and commercialised, Ørsted and the broader offshore wind industry could have access to more reliable camera arrays than was previously possible which is expected to provide better results.
In May, Ørsted decided to join forces with ARK Nature, one of the founding partners of Rewilding Europe and a pioneer of the rewilding approach to nature restoration, to test the potential of rewilding principles to restore ocean biodiversity and develop the best ways to scale up work globally.
That same month, Ørsted announced that it was planning a world-first attempt to support coral reefs by growing corals in the tropical waters of Taiwan this summer.
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