One of the consortia bidding for seabed rights for new offshore wind farms has teamed up with marine scientists to study the environmental impacts of floating turbines.
Partners Orsted, Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy will – if their ScotWind leasing round bids are successful – work with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (Sams) on a range of topics.
These would include investigating how fishing interests and offshore wind can work together, and how fish, marine mammals and seabirds interact with floating technologies.
Research into how floating offshore wind can operate alongside the fishing industry has also been proposed.
Mike Spain, head of enterprise at Sams, based at Dunstaffnage near Oban, said: “Given Sams’ wide research portfolio, we have an interest in contributing to the resolution of several data gaps in floating offshore wind research.
“Collaboration with Falck Renewables, Orsted and BlueFloat Energy will allow for some of these issues to be explored in detail, which would be of great benefit to the wider sector and to other stakeholders.”
Duncan Clark, who heads Orsted’s UK business, said: “The potential for generating power from floating offshore wind as we move towards a net-zero world is immense.
“With all-new technology, it is vital to ensure it is carefully designed, with the environment in mind, and that we fully understand any effects it might have on the marine ecosystem and how to avoid and mitigate them.”
Falck Renewables Wind managing director Richard Dibley said: “Our track record is of working as closely as possible with the communities around our developments.
“We’re currently carrying out a consultation into how Scottish communities could benefit from ownership of offshore wind.”
Future studies could also focus on increasing the role of marine robotics in collecting data before and after the construction of floating offshore wind farms at remote sites.
BlueFloat Energy chief executive Carlos Martin said: “Floating wind is fast emerging as a game-changer for the energy transition and we are at the forefront of the technology evolution.
“We believe it is vital to collect more data and improve our understanding of the effects it has on the surrounding environment.
“With floating developments well-suited to being sited far offshore, research into the use of robotics in collecting data will be invaluable.”
Danish renewable energy giant Orsted recently unveiled plans to directly invest up to
£12 billion in Scotland if it is successful with all five of its bids in the Crown Estate Scotland ScotWind offshore wind auction.