Scots scientists, environmental and marine experts have selected a group of 16 renewable energy projects to share in a €3 million scientific research programme to understand the environmental impacts of offshore wind.
The European Union is providing up to half of the funding for the programme, which is believed to be the first of its kind – with Swedish state utility giant Vattenfall providing the other half.
The 16 projects were shortlisted from an extensive list of almost 100 original applications by a specialist scientific panel which comprised members from Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, RSPB Scotland, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the Scottish Crown Estate and Vattenfall.
Erica Knott, SNH’s representative on the panel, said: “SNH is pleased to support this innovative and timely programme of research, and welcomes the substantial funding committed to it. Understanding possible interactions between offshore windfarms and our marine wildlife is key to the sustainable growth of the industry in Scotland.
“The short-listed projects target some of the most fundamental uncertainties in this area, resolution of which should inform and streamline the future consenting process for such development, in Scotland and beyond.”
Adam Ezzamel, Vattenfall’s project director for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre – also known as Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm – commented: “It is important to harness the EOWDC as an opportunity to conduct in-depth research into offshore wind at a full-scale, near-shore facility.”