Danish renewable energy firm Orsted and UK-based marine consultants Bluedot Associates have teamed up to develop a biodiversity framework to apply to the planned offshore floating wind power leasing round the UK is planning in the Celtic Sea.
The UK is planning to develop up to 5 GW of floating wind power capacity by 2030. Up to 4 GW of that could be coming from the Celtic Sea off the UK’s southwest coast, with the Crown Estate – a massive property portfolio belonging to the British monarchy – about to launch a leasing tender for commercial projects running up to 1 GW each.
Among the Crown Estate’s criteria is that proponents must make sure to balance the needs of the environment, other users of the sea, and onshore communities.
Orsted and Bristol-based Bluedot will work together to deliver a collaborative, integrated biodiversity blueprint for the venture, they announced Thursday.
“Should Orsted be successful in winning seabed, the project will help demonstrate how to deliver a net positive impact in the Celtic Sea and also, crucially, creates a framework supporting offshore wind developers to work together and coordinate their biodiversity projects – a huge opportunity for developers and statutory nature conservation bodies to achieve significantly larger positive impacts, at a seascape scale,” the firm said in a press release.
The company has committed to ensure that all new renewable energy project it commissions from 2030, at the latest, must deliver a net-positive biodiversity impact, and any project it wins in the Celtic Sea will meet that ambition, Orsted pledged.
“However, the marine environment is complex with highly mobile species, diffuse impacts, as well as numerous and diverse threats to habitats and species – all of which require assessment and interventions across large scales,” it said.
“The project with Bluedot Associates will inform the development of floating offshore wind by Orsted in the Celtic Sea region, enabling biodiversity to thrive at a seascape scale. The approach can also be applied more broadly and could be used collaboratively as developers look for effective joined-up approaches to creating healthier seas. In the future, this approach could also link with strategic environmental measures taken through the forthcoming UK Government Marine Recovery Fund.”
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