APEM will carry out an initial first year of post-construction aerial surveys at the world’s second largest offshore wind farm, off the coast of North Wales.
Ultra-high resolution aerial surveys will monitor birds and marine mammals at the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm plus a 4 km buffer, as well as a wider area in Colwyn Bay (NW5) where the wind farm sits.
A grid design will be used to survey the wind farm area, as well as NW5. A month-long series of surveys will take place in summer 2016 and a series of surveys will take place in winter 2016-17. During mid-winter a dawn and dusk survey will also be undertaken.
The key ornithological species of interest are red-throated divers and common scoters.
Paul Carter, offshore consents manager at RWE Innogy, said: “Gwynt Y Mor Offshore Wind Farm are looking forward to working with APEM again, after successful delivery of pre-construction and construction ornithological surveys.”
APEM’s project manager, Beth Goddard, said ”We’ll be using a ‘Before After Control Impact’ approach, following on from surveys carried out by APEM both before and during the construction of the wind farm, in 2010-11 and 2012-13 respectively.
“To make sure that the data gathered on the new surveys is fully comparable with the previous surveys, the survey design will replicate that of pre and during construction surveys.”
High resolution digital cameras will be fitted to APEM’s specialist survey aircraft and these will capture hundreds of detailed images, from which the company’s ornithologists can determine the numbers, distribution, species and direction of birds and marine mammals, as well as the heights that any birds are flying at.
With 160 Siemens 3.6 MW turbines, Gwynt y Môr is the world’s second largest operational offshore wind farm. The wind farm generates enough low carbon electricity to meet the equivalent needs for over 400,000 average UK homes(1) which is the equivalent to powering a third of all the households in Wales(2).
Gwynt y Môr is owned by RWE Innogy (50%); Stadtwerke München GmbH, Munich’s municipal utilities company (30%); the UK Green Investment Bank (10%) and Siemens (10%).
The surveys commenced in July 2016 with the initial contract running for 12 months, with a potential extension for a further two years.
(1) Energy predicted to be generated by the proposal is derived using wind speeds monitored in the local area. This enables a calculation to be made to estimate the average annual energy production for the site based on 160 turbines each of rated capacity 3.6 MW. The energy capture predicted and hence derived homes equivalent figures may change as further data are gathered. Equivalent homes supplied is based on an annual electricity consumption per home of 4700 kWh. This figure is supported by recent domestic electricity consumption data available from The Digest of UK Energy Statistics and household estimates and projections from the UK Statistics Authority.
(2) Office for National Statistics: The 2011 census states there were 1.3million households in Wales on census night.
If you have any queries, please contact Dr Mark Rehfisch, head of ornithology.
Alternatively you can email them here. Or call 0161 442 8938.