Celtic Sea floating offshore wind surveys kick off
The first in a series of specialist survey vessels have set sail from Swansea, marking an important step in the plans for the development of floating wind off the coast of Wales and South West England.
Operated by Fugro with a crew of 30, the vessel will spend around 100 days at sea, using towed and hull-mounted sensors to gather geophysical data on the properties of the seabed and sub-seabed.
This is the first in a series of studies funded by the Crown Estate as it looks to accelerate plans for new floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea, off the coast of Wales and South West England, according to the press release.
The multi-million-pound programme includes plans for further surveys over the next two years which will see data collected on everything from wind and wave patterns to birds and marine mammals in the area.
The studies will be made freely available to successful bidders to support their own decision-making and future progress through the planning process, said the Crown Estate.
“After many months of careful preparation and planning, these surveys mark an exciting step forward for our plans to establish new floating wind technology of the coast of Wales and South West England. By better understanding the physical and environmental properties of the proposed sites, we are able to help remove some of the barriers and risks developers face when moving through the planning process, while also helping assess and manage any environmental impacts”, said Nicola Clay, Head of New Ventures at the Crown Estate.
The surveys follow the publication by the Crown Estate on 4 July of the proposed locations of the wind farms, with four project sites set to deliver up to 4 GW of floating wind capacity.
According to the Crown Estate, integration ports are expected to play a key role when it comes to the manufacture and storage of the numerous components required to deploy floating offshore wind, such as foundation assembly, cabling, and placing the turbines on top of the floating foundations.
Also, new aspects of the tender design will require developers to set out more detail on how they plan to create lasting social and environmental value, with the introduction of questions linked to the UK Government’s social value model (SVM) focused on education, inclusion, environment, and communities.
With the goal of increasing transparency, the Crown Estate added that it will change the auction design and will adopt a ‘rising clock’ auction with pricing movements published during the different rounds.