Swedish energy company Vattenfall has shortlisted offshore wind projects for a €3 million scientific research programme to investigate the environmental impacts of offshore wind, which will be conducted at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre.
Vattenfall announced this week that sixteen projects have been shortlisted from a much larger list of almost 100 project applications. The final sixteen were whittled down by a scientific panel made up of environmental agencies, scientists, representatives of Vattenfall, and partner in the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG). The same panel is expected to decide by the end of the year what will be the final successful projects to be selected to partake in the €3 million funding, half of which is being provided by the EU.
The specific projects span a myriad of study topics, including analyzing the distribution and movement of different birds, mammals, and fish species, studies in geology, and investigating the effect of offshore wind on the environment and societies.
“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,” said Adam Ezzamel, project director for the EOWDC at Vattenfall. “Each of these shortlisted projects has the potential to offer new insights into the sector. Through working with key environmental agencies and industry experts we will identify the successful applicants and allocate funding that will facilitate ground-breaking research into offshore wind.”
“[Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)] is pleased to support this innovative and timely programme of research, and welcomes the substantial funding committed to it,” said Erica Knott, SNH’s representative on the panel. “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.”
The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre has had a long history so far, even though development is only just beginning. The development of the project was originally stymied by none other than recently-elected President-Elect Donald Trump, who took the developers through several court processes before his case was finally dismissed by the UK’s supreme court, the highest court in the land, back in late 2015.