Research Program Set to Develop Knowledge on Noise Mitigation for Floating Offshore Wind

(Image credit: Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult)

Work has begun on a collaborative marine research project aimed at identifying design innovations and best practice in monitoring and mitigating underwater noise associated with floating offshore wind developments.

Experts from the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence (FOW CoE) will work alongside project partners Equinor, JASCO Applied Sciences, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), and Xi Engineering, with ORE Catapult serving as project lead. The project has been jointly funded by The Crown Estate and the Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence.

Underwater noise is a key consideration of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process for floating offshore wind developments. While the industry has gathered significant data banks relating to noise emissions associated with bottom-fixed offshore wind turbines, fewer sources exist for floating offshore wind.

The FLOWN-MIT program has been developed to enhance understanding of environmental impacts while promoting a consistent, evidence-based approach to monitoring and mitigating potential risks. Its work is expected to complete in Spring 2026.

Andrew Stormonth-Darling, Principal Portfolio Manager—Floating Wind at ORE Catapult, said:

“This important project will build on our existing body of knowledge, as well as other key industry studies, to deliver this novel research. The team will harness live operational data from commercial floating offshore windfarms to model an accurate acoustic profile of noise emissions from floating offshore wind turbines.

“This research will involve a thorough environmental risk review and identify appropriate noise monitoring and mitigating tools and techniques designed to facilitate a consistently well-informed, efficient, evidence-based consenting process.”

Olivia Thomas, Head of Planning & Technical, Marine, The Crown Estate, added:

“As stewards of the seabed, we are committed to fostering responsible development of our offshore environment. This initiative is an important milestone in achieving evidence-led, sustainable offshore wind development.

“Through pioneering solutions to mitigate underwater noise, we are not only de-risking the consenting process for offshore wind developments but also protecting marine wildlife, supporting biodiversity and nature recovery.

“This research aligns with our mission to create lasting value, ensuring that the economic and social benefits of renewable energy are realized in harmony with the natural environment.”

Established by The Crown Estate, the £50 million Offshore Wind Evidence and Change program brings together a coalition of 26 government organizations, industry bodies, and environmental NGOs to collaborate and act as agents for change in the face of climate and biodiversity crises. The FLOWN-MIT program is among 35 projects funded by the initiative to fill critical evidence gaps around the sustainable development of offshore wind.

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