Equinor, operator of Hywind Scotland, is collaborating with Marine Scotland to better understand how the fishing industry can safely operate around and within floating offshore windfarms
Equinor sustainability advisor Monica Fundingsland said, “Floating turbines are anchored to the seabed via dynamic mooring chains. Vessel data has shown that fishermen avoid our floating windfarm, so we are working closely with Marine Scotland to better understand how they can safely fish within a floating windfarm using a variety of techniques.”
Hywind Scotland is the world’s first floating offshore windfarm and began producing electricity in 2017. Since then it has consistently outperformed other UK windfarms, achieving the highest annual average capacity factor – how much electricity is actually generated as a percentage of what the windfarm would generate if at full power all the time – in the UK since operations started.
As the first of its kind, Equinor is capturing as much data from the floating windfarm as possible to further apply and share this knowledge globally around floating offshore wind.
In a survey scheduled at Hywind Scotland for 2022, Marine Scotland will test three kinds of fishing gear: creels, fish traps and jigging lines. While not all of these fishing methods are used commercially around Hywind Scotland itself, the purpose is to demonstrate how methods used globally can interact with floating offshore windfarms.
In June 2021, a trial survey allowed Marine Scotland to test some of the equipment in preparation for next year’s survey. The full survey is expected to take place over Q2-3 2022.
Marine Scotland renewables and energy programme manager Dr Jared Wilson said, “As home to the world’s first floating offshore windfarm we are keen to leverage this position to understand more about how fishermen can continue to work safely alongside offshore wind. The results and lessons learned from this initial two-day trial will help us inform the approach taken for the larger trial next year.”
Ms Fundingsland said, “We have seen rapid growth in fixed bottom offshore wind and expect now to see a similar path for floating offshore wind as new markets are opening up.
“Safety is always our number one priority and we are using our assets and expertise to understand how fishing can continue safely in windfarm zones. We would like to build on these initial trials by trialling more fishing techniques in future.”
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