We are proud to have one of the most comprehensive portfolios of onshore and offshore renewable opportunities in Scotland and across the UK. This includes offshore wind projects that could become the first commercial-scale floating windfarms in the world, with MachairWind being the largest offshore project, with foundations that are fixed to the seabed, within our portfolio. Delivering these projects will provide a considerable contribution to the energy transition and help ensure UK climate change targets are achieved.
At SPR, we pride ourselves on being a responsible developer and approach all our renewables’ projects in a considered and sensitive way that takes account of the local environment and ecology. To ensure we have a clear and comprehensive picture of the environment in our development area, we have commissioned a range of baseline surveys, including offshore ornithology (birds) and marine mammal surveys, to gather data that will inform the project development. For example, our ornithology surveys will gather monthly data on birds for two years. Once we have gathered this data, a detailed assessment will be undertaken by ornithology specialists to predict the impact of the wind farm on specific bird species based on how we have designed the wind farm , i.e turbine height and size etc. We will consider alternative designs to minimise the collision risk and potential impacts of the development and engage with regulatory authorities and consultees in the process.These aerial surveys started in April 2021 and will conclude in 2023. Further baseline surveys are planned as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.
As well as gathering two years of ornithology data, our Offshore Environment Team has also been undertaking surveys to gather data about the flight height of bird species that can be found in and around the MachairWind area. These surveys were undertaken from both land and sea. We will continue to carry out bird and marine mammal surveys across the MachairWind development area using light aircraft. This will also help to inform our Environmental Impact Assessment – a key part of our planning application.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
An EIA Consultant for both the offshore and onshore elements of the project has been appointed to lead on the environmental and technical studies throughout the consenting process. Our Lead EIA Consultant will draft EIA Scoping Reports for both the offshore and onshore components of the project, and these will be part of a formal consultation with statutory bodies and the public, including local communities.
Protecting the Environment
The results of these surveys and studies will feed into the design of our windfarm and its location, as well as the routeing of the export cables. They are also an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with environmental bodies, for all to gain a better understanding of particular habitats, and the distribution and behaviour of certain species.
Iberdrola has recently announced some of the most ambitious sustainability targets within the renewable energy sector. These include reaching net zero by 2040 and having a net positive impact on biodiversity by 2030.
A new Offshore Wind Sustainability Team has been created to help us deliver these ambitious targets and business ambitions. The sustainability team has three key focus areas: decarbonisation, circular economy, and biodiversity net gain. We are here to build the sustainability capacity of the offshore business by developing tools and resources, supporting the projects to deliver sustainability, and proactively mobilise against emerging sustainability challenges and opportunities.
You can read more on ScottishPower’s website Environment and Climate Action - ScottishPower Renewables