Natural Power provide consent support to second largest offshore wind project consented in the UK – the 1.1 GW Moray Offshore Wind Farm

Natural Power working as a lead advisor across all three projects

A ground-breaking development for the UK offshore wind industry has been achieved this month with the first projects being granted consent in the Crown Estate's Round 3 process, with leading renewable energy consultancy Natural Power working as a lead advisor across all three projects.

The 1116 MW Moray Offshore Wind Farm has been granted consent with Natural Power providing expert Consent Management and Ecology services to client Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd. (MORL). The offshore wind farm, off the Caithness coast in the outer Moray Firth, Scotland, is the second largest of its kind consented in the UK and marks a critical stage for the industry in developing deeper water wind farms, further from shore.

Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd., a joint venture between EDP Renewables (EDPR UK) and Repsol Nuevas Energias UK, appointed Natural Power as lead ornithology and marine mammal advisors during the scoping, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and post-submission consultation stages of the projects' development in August 2010.

Natural Power commenced work on the Moray Offshore Wind Farm involving some 25 staff across a four year period. The Ecology, Hydrology, Planning and Development teams provided MORL with the leading offshore consulting services including:

*Ornithological and marine mammal advice feeding in to the Project Design Envelope

*Scoping guidance

*Boat-based bird and marine mammal surveys

*Worked with academic institutions to develop an assessment framework methodology for construction-related impacts upon marine mammals

*Application of this assessment framework to inform Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) for marine mammals from the proposed developments

*Use of analysis techniques to inform the ornithology impact assessment, including collision and displacement analysis and population viability analysis

*Production of the Ornithology and Marine Mammal Environmental Statement chapters

*Stakeholder Liaison through the EIA compilation process

*Input into post-submission consultation with the determining authority and stakeholders to achieve consent.

Dr. Chris Pendlebury, Natural Power's Lead ornithological advisor on the project, said: "We are delighted to have provided our world leading offshore services to EDPr and Repsol on such a monumental project for our industry. Our experts have worked on this project for four years, utilising their experience and expertise to provide industry leading analysis and advice to our client. It is great to see a project of this scale achieve consent in Scotland."

The Natural Power Ecology & Hydrology team has considerable experience advising on all aspects of ecological and hydrological projects, including all baseline surveying requirements, data collation, statistical & modelling expertise, environmental impact assessments, HRA, mitigation and monitoring. The company's long history in offshore wind and expertise is in the provision of advice and surveys to all phases of wind farm developments (feasibility, EIA, post-consent, pre-construction, construction and operation/OFTO). In the past two years alone the Ecology & Hydrology team have worked on 20 offshore wind farms and 60 onshore wind projects across the UK.

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