The overall aim of the present study has been to identify, review and assess the potential effects on coastal processes related to the development of offshore wind farms around the UK coast. Within the context of this study coastal processes are deemed to include the diffraction and focusing effects on waves and currents and their effect on long shore drift and erosion. From this work, the project outputs aim to provide generic guidance on these issues to stakeholders for use in the planning and consent stage prior to any development.
The Government has made a commitment that by 2010 at least 10% of electricity demand in the UK will be generated from renewable sources. The fulfillment of this commitment will require greatly increased development of several renewable technologies, including offshore wind.
The present study is one in a series of special research topics, funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) within the New and Renewable Energy Programme, examining generic issues related to offshore wind developments.
The requirement for the project originates from the recommendations of an earlier study which provided a generic assessment of the environmental effects of offshore wind farms and served to establish the key environmental issues and potential environmental effects of large-scale offshore wind farms (ETSU, 2000). This earlier study identified areas where additional research was required, which included, amongst others, the need for a greater understanding on the potential effects of coastal processes. ETSU commissioned ABP Marine Environmental Research Ltd. (ABPmer) and Metoc Plc. to undertake this research and examine the potential effect on coastal processes under 2 scenarios; a 'reasonable worst case' and a more 'typical' installation.