Plans for floating wind farm development off the coast of Wales and South West England are progressing as the first specialist survey vessel embarks on a 100-day mission from Swansea.
With a crew of 30, the vessel will use towed and hull-mounted sensors to gather geophysical data on the properties of the seabed and sub-seabed.
The survey, conducted by the Dutch offshore survey firm Fugro and funded by the Crown Estate, aim to facilitate the development of floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea, off the coast of Wales and South West England.
The multi-million-pound program includes plans for further surveys over the next two years which will see data collected on everything from wind and wave patterns to birds and marine mammals in the area.
According to the Crown Estate, the survey data will be made freely available to successful bidders to support their decision-making and future progress through the planning process.
The surveys follow the publication by The Crown Estate on July 4, of the proposed locations of the wind farms, with four project sites set to deliver up to 4GW of floating wind capacity. This would be enough to power around four million households.
Role of Ports
The Crown Estate said on July 4 that bidders had been informed that they would be required to set out a number of commitments as part of the tender process, including how they intend to reflect the important role of ports in the assembly and deployment of turbines.
In particular, the Crown Estate said at the time, integration ports are expected to play a key role when it comes to the manufacture and storage of the numerous components required to deploy floating offshore wind, such as foundation assembly, cabling and placing the turbines on top of the floating foundations.
"There is broad consensus across the sector that these ports must be in relative proximity to project sites, so assembled turbines can be floated out to their final locations," the Crown Estate said.
Also, new aspects of the tender design will also require developers to set out more detail on how they plan to create lasting social and environmental value, with the introduction of questions linked to the UK Government’s social value model (SVM) focused on education, inclusion, environment and communities.