NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen Bay offshore wind research projects announced

Offshore wind Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some of the projects will examine the environmental impact of offshore wind farms

The economic and environmental impact of offshore wind is to be studied as part of a multi-million pound research programme based in Aberdeen Bay.

Other projects being funded by the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) will examine the lives of sea trout, salmon and dolphins.

The centre is run by Swedish power company Vattenfall.

The three million euro (£2.6m) offshore wind research programme is thought to be the largest of its kind.

Half the money is being provided by the European Union.

Vattenfall, which is wholly owned by the Swedish government, said the programme would also put Scotland at the forefront of research and development in the industry.

The first projects to receive funding include:

  • The River Dee Trust and Marine Scotland Science to assess the interactions between salmon and sea trout with offshore wind technology
  • SMRU Consulting and the University of St Andrews to improve the understanding of bottlenose dolphin movements along the east coast of Scotland
  • MacArthur Green, Glasgow to measure connectivity between auk special protection areas populations and offshore wind farms, and to track the non-breeding season movements of adult auks
  • Oxford Brookes University to examine the socio-economic impact of offshore wind on the human environment

Adam Ezzamel, the centre's project director, said: "The announcement of these successful projects, including three in Scotland, is an exciting one with each having the potential to unlock fascinating new insights into the offshore wind environment and determine influencing environmental factors."

Mr Ezzamel said the EOWDC's offshore wind test facility offered an "unmissable opportunity" for scientists and researchers.

He added: "We are pleased to be facilitating such innovative research in the north-east which will bring considerable benefits to the region as well as the industry and policy-making."

Almost 100 applications from across the UK and overseas were submitted for the research programme with a shortlist of 16 selected by a specialist scientific panel.

The panel hopes to make a further funding announcement soon.

WWF Scotland said: "Offshore wind is a critical technology in the fight against climate change, helping to reduce emissions, keep the lights on and create thousands of jobs across the UK and Scotland.

"This new package of research and development projects will enrich our understanding of the environmental and economic effects of offshore wind operating in our waters, helping ensure any future development maximises the benefits."

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