Blue Gem Wind commissions academics to support seabird research

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 27/09/2021 Blue Gem Wind
Blue Gem Wind, the joint venture between TotalEnergies and Simply Blue Group, has commissioned seabird researchers from Oxford, Sheffield, and Heriot-Watt Universities to support current offshore Environmental Impact Assessment work.

Mike Scott, Project Managing Director at Blue Gem Wind, said: “As part of our Environmental Impact Assessment we commissioned 2 years of offshore Digital Aerial Surveys in September 2019 to understand and characterise seabird, and marine mammal use, of the proposed Erebus project. On completion of these Aerial Surveys we are supplementing this work by engaging the services of several academic institutions responsible for long term seabird tagging and tracking projects from the Pembrokeshire Islands.”

The supplementary data will provide tracking analysis for key species including Gannet, Manx shearwater and Guillemot and provide information on connectivity between the Erebus site and Grassholm, Skomer and Skokholm using existing long term GPS tracking data. This data provides a unique view of behavioural usage of the
Erebus site for these species, including understanding whether birds are travelling, feeding or resting and assists in understanding seabird behaviour during daylight and darkness.

Ben Huskinson, Consenting Manager, Blue Gem Wind, added: “The decision to proactively commission the additional work was taken after continuous engagement with the Wildlife Trust, RSPB, JNCC and Natural Resources Wales. As Wales’s first floating wind project, we wanted to engage and source the best available data and ensure that the introduction of a new technology into the Celtic Sea is fully understood and assessed. We remain on track to submit our Environmental Statement to Natural Resources Wales in December.”

Blue Gem Wind is focussed on developing floating wind in the Celtic Sea using a stepping stone approach. As its first proposed project,  
Erebus is expected to provide enough green energy for approximately 90,000 homes per year. The project is to have a 96 MW capacity and will be installed in an area with a water depth of 70 metres. An application has been submitted to the Crown Estate.

The parties are planning to develop the project using Principle Power’s WindFloat technology. WindFloat is a semi-submersible floating foundation with "water entrapment plates" fitted onto the bottom of the three pillars and a static and dynamic ballast system to enable stability.

For more information on floating offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.