The wind energy sector is an industry of strategic national importance, which can help secure our energy supplies, reduce our carbon emissions and dependence on imported fossil fuels, and help to protect our environment. It is an industry on which our clean energy future rests. Despite the positive benefits of wind energy there is still uncertainty over the potential effects that wind turbines may have on bird species, particularly regarding the interactions of birds around wind farms and wind turbines. This uncertainty can have major consequences, potentially delaying or leading to the refusal of wind farm projects and hindering the ability of the UK to meet its renewable energy targets, while also increasing cost to the consumer.
TÜV SÜD PMSS’s Kit Hawkins has been invited by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) to be a member of the Steering Group for a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded study, which is seeking to reduce uncertainty and incorporate variability into collision risk modelling. Also present on the steering groups are other industry-leading colleagues from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Marine Scotland Science (MSS) and Scottish Power Renewables. The project lead, Dr. Elizabeth Masden (Environmental Research Institute, UHI) has been awarded a 12-month Knowledge Exchange grant from NERC to review and critically assess existing collision risk models, convene a workshop of leading practitioners and propose how modelling can be made more representative of the “real-world situation”.
Kit stated “Reducing uncertainty in impact predictions is important in ensuring that the UK can benefit from the full deployment of offshore wind in our territorial waters. Quantifying and understanding the level of uncertainty will make assessments more robust going forwards, which will help facilitate the successful deployment of renewable energy technologies and reduce costs to the consumer.
TÜV SÜD PMSS is keen to support Dr. Masden’s study, which we believe will help to make our impact predictions more realistic, while ensuring that we rightly continue to protect our important natural habitats and species.”
For more information contact Dr. Elizabeth Masden firstname.lastname@example.org