The UK potentially has a significant opportunity to continue its leading role in offshore wind farm development by progressing with the commercialisation of floating wind. Floating foundations for wind turbines are seen as a solution to deploying in waters too deep for traditional foundations, or where the seabed is unsuitable for fixed foundations, and, a potential solution for accessing higher wind speeds further offshore remote from some stakeholder concerns. Demonstrator projects are in development in the UK and overseas waters, with the aim of deploying full scale commercial farms of floating wind farms in the near future.
Over the past five years, our understanding of the interactions between offshore renewable technologies (fixed wind turbines, wave and tidal devices) and environmental receptors has grown rapidly, and much of this information can be directly applied to predict the likely consequences of deploying floating wind structures offshore. However, there are also different and emerging environmental considerations specific to floating wind turbines, which need to be tackled, and early engagement over the issues will be beneficial for both industry and regulators especially where innovation, R&D is needed.
With this in mind, NERC, ARUP, the Carbon Trust, the ORE Catapult and the Scottish Government worked collaboratively to organise and deliver a workshop to identify environmental or consenting considerations which constitute barriers and risks to the industry, as well as identify innovative solutions.
The specific aims of the workshop were therefore to:
• Identify the main consenting and environmental risks/barriers to the development of floating offshore wind farms at a demonstration and commercial scale
• Identify the innovation and translational R&D needed to streamline and de risk planning, environmental consenting and post consent monitoring for floating wind,
This report summarises the outputs of the workshop and provides a synthesis of the information generated, with interpretation and recommendations for future action.