Vattenfall announced this week that it has shortlisted 16 research projects for a programme aimed at understanding the environmental impacts of offshore wind installations.

The €3m ($3.2m) programme, which will be half-funded by the EU, is to be hosted at Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) testing and demonstration facility in Scotland and will study the environment around its 11 turbines. The programme is the largest of its kind, according to Vattenfall. 

Of the 100+ applications it received, Vattenfall said the shortlisted projects include “analysis of distribution and movement of different bird, mammal and fish species, to looking at the effect of offshore wind on the environment and societies, as well as studies focused on geology.”

A panel including Vattenfall, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, RSPB Scotland, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and The Crown Estate will decide on how to allocate funding.

Erica Knott, the Scottish National Heritage representative on the panel, said the trust is “pleased to support this innovative and timely programme of research, and welcomes the substantial funding committed to it. Understanding possible interactions between offshore windfarms and our marine wildlife is key to the sustainable growth of the industry.”

The shortlisted projects “target some of the most fundamental uncertainties in this area, resolution of which should inform and streamline the future consenting process for such development,” she added.