Scotland, Off the Fife Coast 2021 - 2024
Commissioned by: Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Limited, a company of EDF Renewables UK and ESB
Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) Offshore Wind Farm, Seagreen Offshore Wind Farm (Seagreen), and SSE Renewables through the Berwick Bank Offshore Wind Farm are joining forces with STRIX, world leaders in innovation and sustainability, to carry out the first seabird interaction study of its kind in Scotland on a commercial sized wind farm at the NnG site.
The study has been devised in collaboration with RSPB, NatureScot, Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Marine Scotland Science.
STRIX will carry out an extensive two-year operational study with cameras and radars installed on nine of NnG’s 54 wind turbines.
Miguel Repas, Chief Executive Officer at STRIX comments: “We are committed to support wind energy development while preserving wildlife in the Firths of Tay and Forth. This study combines key technologies, such as radar, with innovative data analysis to deliver critical understanding of seabird behaviour near turbines”
The system provided by STRIX will focus on gannets and kittiwakes, the species of seabirds identified as being most at risk of collision and displacement from offshore windfarms located in the Forth and Tay.
The study will monitor flight activity and provide further insight into how these seabirds behave around offshore wind turbines. It will also improve understanding of the behaviours of other species such as lesser black-backed gulls and great black-backed gulls.
The study is of significant importance to Scotland as results taken from the work will be used to inform the future consenting of offshore wind farms in the North Sea.
NnG, jointly owned by EDF Renewables and ESB, will supply enough low carbon electricity for around 375,000* homes and has a capacity of c. 450 megawatts (MW) of low carbon energy and will offset over 400,000 tonnes of Co 2 emissions each year.
This world leading study, working with RSPB, NatureScot, Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Marine Scotland Science will be the first of its kind to ever be carried out in Scotland.
Berwick Bank Wind Farm, which is being developed approximately 30km from the coast in the Outer Firth of Forth by SSE Renewables, could generate up to 4.1GW and commence generating clean electricity by 2026 if consented.
Developing offshore wind will have an important part to play in addressing the nature emergency as well as the climate emergency. The project seeks to gain unprecedented insights into seabird activity across the Firths of Tay and Forth and to use the findings to inform our future projects both in Scotland and further afield.
Offshore wind is crucial to help tackle climate change and meet net zero carbon obligations. It must though be developed in harmony with nature and in parallel with work to protect and restore marine wildlife. Fundamental to this is reducing the uncertainty surrounding the assessment of impacts on seabirds.
This study will improve our understanding of interactions of birds with turbines in a three-dimensional space and will be of great value to the sensitive development of wind farms in the future.