Blue Gem Wind, the joint venture between TotalEnergies, one of the world’s largest energy companies, and Simply Blue Group have commissioned leading 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, “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. ”
Erebus is Wales’ first floating offshore windfarm and will create enough low carbon energy to power 90,000 homes.
The Celtic Sea is poised to play a key role in Net Zero, the Committee on Climate Change’s 100+GW offshore wind recommendation, and the UK Government’s target of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030.