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Fugro Partnership Provides a Sound Solution

In the rapidly expanding marine renewable energy sector, Fugro GEOS has teamed up with JASCO Applied Sciences, the specialist underwater acoustics company, to add a vital service: the measurement of underwater noise and allied consultancy. An important component of any Environmental Impact Assessment, the measurement of underwater noise created during construction and operation of wind farms and tidal turbines is vital to ensure the safety and longevity of marine wildlife as well as compliance with licensing requirements.

21 Aug 2012

The new partnership brings a number of key benefits to the wind, wave and tidal sectors. Both organisations enjoy established track records within the renewable energy industry and the combination of experience and expertise in technical system deployment introduces a cost-effective ‘one-stop’ solution.

The advantages of this joint approach include conducting pre-piling acoustic impact assessment and calibrated noise level measurements during the construction phase. Post-construction acoustic recording can not only assess overall noise contribution from the operation, but may also support studies to confirm the return of pre-existing mammals and fish stocks. The combined services can be used in all UK sea areas throughout the life-cycle of a renewables project providing baseline studies, construction monitoring, pre-construction modelling, mitigation studies and preservation of marine life.

One of the first projects undertaken by the new Fugro GEOS-JASCO partnership was a programme to measure the underwater sound signature for Hywind, the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine off the Norwegian coast. One of the benefits of Statoil’s floating wind turbine is that the construction phase does not emit a high level of sound into the water. However the steel structure is attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread and, during operation, vibrations in the steel structure and its anchor chains may generate an unknown level of underwater sound.

The 5-month project involved the deployment of two recording sensors supplied by JASCO. Using a seabed mooring system, one sensor was located at a nominal distance of 150 metres from the Hywind floating structure. The second recorder, which acted as a control data set, was anchored in a similar oceanographic area, 10 kilometres from the turbine. The objective of the initial data analysis by JASCO was to provide a summary view of the Hywind data and extract an acoustic signature at the measured levels.


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