Wind energy – seabed survey
Two uncrewed vessels remotely controlled from shore have travelled up to 40km offshore into the North Sea to undertake survey work for Berwick Bank and Marr Bank Offshore Wind Developments, owned by SSE Renewables.
The XO-450 Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs) performed multiple nearshore and offshore cable route surveys in water depths ranging from 0m to 60m, earlier this month. Onshore support was provided by local personnel from Marine Quest.
The surveys allowed the project team to map a previously unknown rock ridge, located on the seabed and identify an alternative path for export cables, Identifying this alternative route early has ensured that there is no requirement for potentially intrusive measures on the rock ridge, such as trenching, providing a much more environmentally friendly outcome for the project and local habitat.
The proposed Berwick Bank and Marr Bank wind farms would be located in the outer Firth of Forth, over 49km and 40km, respectively, from the East Lothian coast. The projects have different timescales, with scoping for Berwick Bank submitted in August 2020 and virtual exhibitions held in November 2020 and Marr Bank at an earlier stage.
Throughout the survey, the data collected was monitored from shore in real-time by experts located in the UK, to validate data collection before the vessel departed the site. This demonstrates the highly flexible and collaborative nature of this technology, enabling industry experts to have direct access to real time data, from any location.