The global shift to renewable energy is well underway, including the large-scale deployment of offshore wind farms. There are more than 3,500 turbines operating along European coasts, and a boom in the development of offshore wind energy appears imminent in areas such as Japan and the United States.
Many of the environmental effects of offshore wind are still unclear, due largely to the speed with which the industry has grown and the complexity of ocean ecosystems. An effective monitoring strategy can provide information and answers to questions such as:
· How do offshore wind farms affect ocean ecosystems?
· What are the long-term consequences of wind turbines on marine life?
· Do wind turbine platforms act as fish aggregation devices?
Our Portable Scientific Echosounders
Scientific echosounders (sonar) are an effective and versatile instrument for monitoring renewable energy projects. Our specialized sonar systems for the assessment of fisheries and aquatic habitat resources can be used to accurately measure the size, abundance, and location of marine organisms in the water column. These rugged, portable sonar systems are readily deployed from small research vessels or larger ships and used during mobile surveys under the harshest ocean conditions.
Hydroacoustic Baseline Studies
Baseline studies are a common and practical use for scientific echosounders, important in documenting the biological community prior to anthropogenic development such as renewable energy projects. Physical sampling with nets will provide species composition information which will be correlated with the hydroacoustic data. These results will be compared with data collected post-installation to evaluate the impact of the wind farm on the local fish populations.
Fixed Location Monitoring at Wind Turbine Platforms
On existing wind turbine platforms, sonar systems can be mounted in a fixed location for long-term studies to assess behavioral effects on marine life over time. Sonar data can be used to demonstrate fish aggregation effects and to observe diel and seasonal behavioral patterns in marine life. Transducers can be aimed vertically, horizontally, or in combination to maximize sampling where marine life is most likely present. The DT-X Extreme can be configured with multiple transducers and operate autonomously with data logging capacity for up to 30 days with no PC required, thus providing an efficient and effective tool for long-term acoustic studies.
Mobile Surveys for Habitat Assessment
Our echosounders can also be used around offshore wind farms to map and quantify important seagrass habitat areas and to delineate various substrate types such as coral, silt sediment, or rocky reefs. Data can be used to mitigate the potential loss of marine habitat and to identify and preserve vital, irreplaceable habitat areas. BioSonics offers specialized software for processing sonar data and creating full-color bathymetric maps that highlight important habitat features.
BioSonics Echosounders - Versatile, Accurate, and Rugged
Offshore wind farms are likely here to stay and the need for affordable, effective monitoring tools can only increase as more projects are given the “green light”. BioSonics scientific echosounders can be used in a range of applications for monitoring at proposed and existing wind farm installations. Every system is calibrated for scientifically defensible results and built to last in extreme conditions. Whether monitoring fish or marine life, quantifying seagrass, bathymetric mapping, or assessing aquatic habitat.