A new research programme has been launched to address the critical gap in understanding how marine ecosystems will respond to the continued growth of offshore wind farms.
This is as the sector ramps up to deliver 40 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.
The £7 million programme, known as ECOWind, is a joint initiative led by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) in partnership with The Crown Estate, which manages:
The four-year programme will fund leading-edge research into how offshore windfarms affect the marine environment, alongside other growing pressures on UK ecosystems. This includes climate change and human activities such as fishing. In particular, the programme will focus on how populations and inter-species interactions are responding to offshore wind deployment and how marine observations can be enhanced through innovative technologies to improve our understanding.
Understanding effects of offshore wind farms
The research findings will inform key decision-makers in the management of UK waters to help achieve the UK’s commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Whilst also ensuring net environmental gain and marine environmental restoration.
ECOWind will engage the academic community, helping to develop long-term successful relationships between:
It will work in collaboration with the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change programme, which facilitates the sustainable and coordinated expansion of offshore wind to:
The Offshore Wind Evidence and Change programme is led by The Crown Estate, which has committed to a five year £25 million ‘kick-starter’ investment. It is being delivered in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and Defra.