Vattenfall has launched a €3mn scientific research programme aimed at understanding the environmental impacts of offshore wind. The programme is believed to be the largest of its kind to date.
It will be hosted at the wind farm development site European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC). A scientific panel advising on the allocation of the fund, made up of specialists in the field, has called on scientists to apply for funding to study the environment around the 11-turbine scheme.
Adam Ezzamel, project director for the EOWDC at Vattenfall, said: “In-depth scientific research and monitoring in a real-time environment is recognised as vital to maximising the learning opportunities for the offshore wind sector. We’re pleased that the research will take place at the EOWDC as it underlines the importance of the scheme as a global hub of innovation. We are working collaboratively with a number of key environmental agencies to allocate the research budget.”
Panel members who will decide which applications merit funding come from a spread of organisations that includes Vattenfall, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, RSPB Scotland, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and The Crown Estate.
Research will include a wildlife component. Aly McCluskie, senior conservation scientist at RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) in Scotland, said: “Offshore wind has huge potential to help reduce our carbon emissions but we need to improve our understanding of its environmental effects to help ensure developments happen without harming wildlife. This research programme at EOWDC provides an excellent opportunity to contribute towards this.”