Swedish utility Vattenfall AB on Tuesday announced the first successful projects for its EUR-3-million (USD 3.4m) offshore wind research programme at the company's 92.4-MW European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).
Four projects have been selected to get funds under the programme, which is designed to study the environmental effects of offshore wind in a real-time environment.
The River Dee Trust of Aberdeenshire and Marine Scotland Science will look into the impact of offshore wind farms on salmon and sea trout. SMRU Consulting and the University of St Andrews, both of St Andrews, will study the bottlenose dolphin movements throughout the development and part of the operational phase of the EOWDC. MacArthur Green of Glasgow will aim to provide insights into how auks co-exist with offshore wind farms. The fourth project will see Oxford Brookes University examine the socio-economic impact of offshore wind.
The four projects, three of which are from Scotland, were selected by a specialist scientific panel, which expects to make a further funding announcement in the near future. The research programme attracted almost 100 applications from the UK and abroad. Sixteen projects were shortlisted in November last year.
"We believe those projects that have been successful will effectively inform development of the EOWDC facility and deliver real, tangible data that increases our understanding of the relationship between offshore renewable energy developments and the environment. Such knowledge will be highly effective in informing future planning and consenting activities," said the panel chair professor Stuart Gibb of the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Up to half of the funding for the research programme is provided by the EU.
Construction of the 11-turbine EOWDC, also known as the Aberdeen offshore wind farm, started in October last year and first power is planned for the summer of 2018.