A trio of wind farm survey vessels will be busy in the Southern North Sea for the next three months as UK extension project, North Falls Offshore Wind Farm, kicks off the first offshore environmental and geophysical surveys on its array site and along potential cable routes.
North Falls, a proposed extension to the existing Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, is located approximately 20 kilometres from the East Anglia coast on a site covering a total of 150 km2. The comprehensive surveys, being carried out by marine survey contractor Fugro, will be integral to the project’s environmental impact assessment, with the data collected helping the team to understand the local marine environment.
Together, the 42m Fugro Mercator and 12m Fugro Seeker will conduct geophysical surveys of the seabed, while the 27m Curtis Marshall and will take benthic grab samples and drop-down camera photography of the seabed.
North Falls Project Manager Martin Whyte said that the surveys will enable the project team to assess local environmental conditions and identify and locate protected marine species and habitats, forming a baseline understanding of the area.
“From the environmental data and samples gathered we will be able to identify risks and impacts and develop plans for mitigation, while the survey results will also feed into the early design and engineering of the project’s offshore infrastructure.
“The information will also help to determine what type of further detailed survey works are likely to be required as the project progresses.”
The vessels will operate out of Harwich Port and it is expected the surveys will be completed by the late summer.
North Falls is owned equally by SSE Renewables and RWE Renewables, who have established a 50/50 joint venture company to develop the project.
Image source: Courtesy of RWE; Image caption: Fugro Mercator is one of three vessels carrying out seabed surveys for North Falls
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