Survey Activities Ramping Up on Caledonia Offshore Wind Farm Site

Survey activities are ramping up at Ocean Winds’ Caledonia offshore wind farm site with a pair of floating LiDAR devices soon to be deployed in the Scottish waters.

Illustration; SeaMade offshore wind farm; Photo source: Ocean Winds

The wind farm’s developer, Ocean Winds, said it is laying the groundwork for its comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), a key element in the consenting process, following the project’s survey programme across the 429-square-kilometre site.

“The information we are gathering from these surveys will provide an in-depth and reliable picture of the site, including the export cable corridor, above and beneath the waves, and extending to flora, fauna and other crucial data sets,” said Sarah Graham, Head of Engineering for Caledonia.

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Two floating LiDAR devices are planned to be deployed in June at the Caledonia offshore wind farm site, where water depths range between 40 and 100 metres, by Dutch geo-date specialist company Fugro.

The units are fitted with a range of sensors and equipment designed to acquire marine environmental data including wind, wave, and current conditions, among other factors.

This adds to Ocean Winds’ extensive site data already acquired over twelve years of development in the Moray Firth, said the company.

Data will be transmitted to shore in near real-time, while raw data will be stored and downloaded during maintenance visits. In addition to informing the EIA, results will support engineering design for Caledonia.

Additional geophysical surveys are also ramping up, building on work already completed in 2022. Gardline vessel Ocean Endeavour was mobilised at the start of March to conduct full surveys of the export cable route in addition to further reconnaissance in the wind farm array area.

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The work scope includes benthic sub-tidal environmental surveys and sampling. A separate vessel, the Titan Discovery, will carry out geophysical and benthic sub-tidal surveys of the nearshore cable route area.

“The work will create a better understanding of the shape and profile of the seabed, water depths and technical constraints, and will be used to inform wind farm design, cable routing and installation, as well as landfall site selection,” Graham added.

The 2 GW Caledonia offshore wind farm is being developed by Ocean Winds, a 50-50 joint venture between ENGIE and EDP Renewables.

The proposed project is adjacent to Ocean Winds operational Moray East development and its under-construction Moray West project, which is due to be up and running early in 2025.

“Combined with the experience, understanding and information we have gathered through the development of Ocean Winds’ neighbouring Moray East and Moray West sites, we will have an unrivalled level of visibility to help optimise and de-risk Caledonia going forward”, said Graham.

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