New Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme set up to de-risk wind farm development

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 the Government’s Energy Department (DECC) to form the Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP).

The ORJIP programme has been created to reduce planning and permission risks for developers in securing approvals for large-scale offshore wind farms during the Round 3 and Scottish Territorial Waters processes and beyond.

This work is important for future offshore wind developments from 2017 onwards.

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. ORJIP will initially focus on two work streams:

* Bird collision risk and avoidance rate monitoring (tendering for this  research project – which is on a scale unseen before in the UK –  is now underway), and:

* 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, such as underwater noise mitigation technologies.

Richard Lochhead, Environment Minister in the Scottish Government, commented: “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 license 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.  We are delighted that The Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator, an organisation with a proven track record is driving forward with this valuable work.”

Phil de Villiers, Head of Offshore at the Carbon Trust added: “The ORJIP  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.”

Harry Huyton, Head of Energy & Climate Change at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said: “ORJIP is an important initiative that will bring together industry, Government and charities 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. 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.”

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