In mid-March the formal consent of the single 3-bladed offshore demonstration wind turbine, known as Forthwind, located 1.5km offshore at Methil, Fife was given. The determination allows for a capacity of up to 20MW from a solitary device.
The project is located within an area of the Outer Firth of Forth and St Andrews Bay Complex Special Protection Area (SPA) that is frequently used by wintering waterfowl and diver species protected under the SPA designation (through the Natura 2000 network). The key species of concern in respect of Forthwind, as included for project assessment, are:
- Red-throated diver
- Common scoter
- Velvet scoter
- Long-tailed duck
- Red-breasted merganser
- Slavonian grebe
Due to the inshore location of the turbine, within an SPA designated for these sensitive species, NatureScot stated, as part of consultation responses to the Forthwind EIA Report (EIAR), that “…post-consent monitoring (PCM) of the proposed development site is strongly advised to:
- advance existing knowledge of how these sensitive species respond to an offshore wind development of this scale and in an inshore location, and
- to validate estimates of potential impacts outlined within this EIAR.
The HiDef team worked up data sets to provide more confidence to stakeholders in terms of decision making. Consultancy advice and support was provided to give context to data and analysis.
HiDef wish to congratulate Marc Murray and the Cierco team on their achievement and look forward to carrying on working together and answering key questions for industry and conservation on birds’ behavioural response and potential displacement from such devices.