Carbon Trust

£3m joint industry programme to accelerate the deployment of the UK offshore wind programme

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Source: Carbon Trust

Research to cover UK’s biggest offshore wind bird study plus interactions with marine mammal at the construction stages

Offshore wind has tremendous potential to deliver considerable clean, renewable electricity for the UK.

The Carbon Trust’s offshore wind accelerator (OWA) has been commissioned by the leading offshore wind developers in the UK, The Crown Estate, Marine Scotland and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to form the Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP). The programme has been created to reduce the consenting risks for large-scale offshore wind farms during the Round 3 and Scottish Territorial Waters processes and beyond.

The programme will see £3m of public and private sector funding invested in research over the next three years. The work will generate scientific evidence to provide greater certainty on the potential environmental impacts of offshore wind developments, in order to reduce consenting risks for developers. This work is important for future offshore wind developments from 2017 onwards.

ORJIP will initially focus on two work streams, namely:

  • Bird collision risk and avoidance rate monitoring
  • Investigating the use of deterrent devices and injury avoidance mitigation for marine mammals during piling works

The programme also aims to identify and run further research projects to de-risk offshore renewables project applications, which may include topics such as:

  • Evidence gathering for a population consequences of acoustic disturbance model for marine mammals
  • Underwater noise mitigation technologies

Tendering for the bird collision and avoidance rate monitoring project is now underway. This innovative research project is on a scale unseen before in the UK. The project is likely to begin in the next few months with data collection beginning early in 2014 and will be conducted over a two year period. The results will help refine and inform the assumptions used to estimate bird collisions and avoidance behaviour.

A desk-top study into technologies to prevent potential injuries to marine mammals during offshore wind piling has also been completed and has been published on the ORJIP website. This study may be extended to include the field testing of acoustic devices that can deter mammals from construction and piling activity zones.

Michael Fallon, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change said of the publication of the ORJIP report on marine mammal mitigation techniques:

“I welcome the publication of this joint industry and Government report. It is essential that all industry stakeholders continue to work together to implement the report’s recommendations. This will increase the protection given to marine mammals, help us meet our renewable energy targets and encourage more investment in the offshore wind industry.”

Phil de Villiers, Head of Offshore at the Carbon Trust said:

“This collaborative research programme will provide robust, scientific evidence to better inform the decision making process and in turn help reduce the consenting risk of developing large-scale offshore wind farms.”

Huub den Rooijen, Head of offshore wind at The Crown Estate said:

“The commitment of the project sponsors to jointly address the key environmental hurdles is a landmark achievement for the sector. It underlines the potential value that offshore wind power holds for the UK’s future energy supply. The Crown Estate, through working in partnership, is playing its part in helping deliver this.”

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:

“This type of work is essential to ensure that we can continue to improve our knowledge on the marine ecosystem. This allows us to plan and licence offshore wind projects based upon good science and ensure that our marine species are afforded the highest level of protection.”

Cameron Smith, Chief Operating Officer – Offshore at Mainstream Renewable Power, one of the industry partners said:

“This work is a great example of the industry, both private and public sectors working together in a collaborative way to reduce the cost of offshore wind. Mainstream is delighted that The Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator, an organisation with a proven track record is driving forward with this valuable work.”

Harry Huyton, Head of Energy & Climate Change at the RSPB said: “This an important initiative that will bring together industry, Government and charities such as ourselves to improve our understanding of the impacts of offshore windfarms on birds and other marine wildlife and how they can be addressed.

“A thriving offshore wind industry is needed if we are to cut our carbon emissions at the scale and pace needed to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, which is a huge threat to birds and wildlife. However, offshore windfarms must be carefully sited and designed in order to avoid harm to wildlife, and particularly to seabirds. To achieve this, we need to know much more about how offshore wind affects the marine environment. The research being commissioned by ORJIP will address this need and it is therefore a critical component in ensuring the sustainable development of offshore wind in the UK.”

About the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA):

The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is Carbon Trust's flagship collaborative RD&D programme. Set up in 2008, the OWA is a joint industry project, involving nine offshore wind developers with 77% (36GW) of the UK's licensed capacity, which aims to reduce the cost of offshore wind by 10% by 2015. Cost reduction is achieved through innovation. For more details on the OWA and the Wakes project see - www.carbontrust.com/offshorewind

About the Carbon Trust:

Carbon Trust is an independent company with a mission to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low carbon economy. The Carbon Trust: advises businesses, governments and the public sector on opportunities in a sustainable, low carbon world; measures and certifies the environmental footprint of organisations, products and services, and helps develop and deploy low carbon technologies and solutions, from energy efficiency to renewable power. www.carbontrust.com

About The Crown Estate:

  • The Crown Estate manages a highly diverse property business valued at more than £8 billion. We pay our surplus revenue (profit) to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation every year: in 2012/13 this was £252.6 million. Over the past ten years The Crown Estate has paid over £2 billion to the Treasury.
  • The responsibilities of The Crown Estate are to maintain and enhance the value of the estate and its income over the long term and to do this having regard to good management. In summary, The Crown Estate is a successful business organisation guided by our core values – commercialism, integrity and stewardship.

About ORJIP:

More information can be found on the ORJIP website: www.carbontrust.com/orjip

The objective of ORJIP is to reduce the consenting risk for offshore renewable developments in the UK, especially cumulative impact. This includes:

  • Risk of not getting consent
  • Risk of delay in getting consent
  • Risk of getting consent with conditions that reduce viability of the project

This will be achieved by

(a) Creating a robust, scientific evidence base to inform consenting limits

(b) Developing new methods to increase operations within consenting limits

Focus is on current UK licencing rounds – Round 3 and Scottish Territorial Waters.

ORJIP will bring together industry and Government bodies with the common goal of maximising the deployment of the offshore wind in the UK..

ORJIP will look internationally to avoid duplication and to build on the best ideas, and where possible will provide outputs that can be applied to the rest of Europe.

Research results will be made publicly available via the ORJIP website.

To deliver this, the Carbon Trust will closely engage with many stakeholders, including Government, industry, regulators and scientific experts.

About Marine Scotland

Marine Scotland is the Scottish Government Agency responsible for the Planning, Licensing and Enforcement activities within Scottish waters (out to 200 nautical mile limit). It has a key responsibility to facilitate sustainable marine green energy and does this within an holistic marine planning approach and through the use of efficient and robust licensing procedures.

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