Written by David McPhee
The construction phase of North Sea offshore wind projects could have an
“impact” on local marine mammals, an assessment of the project has claimed.
The assessment outlines Marine Scotland’s considerations for north-east
It claims all three projects could “disturb” bottlenose dolphins, harbour
seals and grey seals.
Inch Cape Offshore Windfarm, Seagreen Alpha and Bravo developments and the
Neart Na Goeithe (NnG) project are all included in the assessment.
The Inch Cape offshore wind development is 100% owned by Red Rock Power
through Chinese investment by SDIC Power Holdings, who also bankrolled 25%
of the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm development currently in construction.
The initial consent was granted in 2013 for the development, which will sit
nine miles off the Angus coastline.
EDF Renewables NnG windfarm is expected to announce contract awards by the
end of the year and begin construction in 2020.
SSE’s 100% owned 120 turbine Seagreen Alpha and Bravo projects will look to
generate a capacity of over 1 gigawatt (GW), making it the largest energy
generating windfarm in Scotland when developed.
The newly updated assessment outlines the concerns in areas of the North
Sea designated “special areas of conservation or special protection areas”.
It found that bottlenose dolphins could be affected by noise emitted from
pile-driving turbine and substation foundations and that impacts could also
spread to their food source during construction.
The report also noted that harbour seals and grey seals could also be
affected by pile driving, but also the disturbance caused by an increase in
boat movements, cable-laying and rock dumping.
Smaller fish and otters are not considered to be likely to be impacted,
according to the assessment.
Inch Cape Offshore Limited (ICOL) announced an application for consent to
Marine Scotland for a 70 turbine development last year.
The windfarm is expected to bring in up to £750 million and 1,900 jobs to
the UK economy, with an expectation the project will add a large proportion
of the sum locally.
A spokeswoman for ICOL said the assessment was “not associated” with the
firm’s current application, adding that the report is “based on parameters
for Inch Cape that are from the 2014 application rather than the latest
2018 consent application.
“ICOL is currently waiting for Marine Scotland to provide an updated
assessment based on ICOLs 2018 application and which reflects the current
status of projects in the Forth and Tay.”
NnG and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo developers have all been contacted for comment.