Back in August last year, Red7Marine joined a project led by Danish multinational company Ørsted to design and install artificial nesting sites for threatened seabirds off the Suffolk coastline as part of the upcoming Hornsea 3 offshore wind farm project.
In July last year, Ørsted was awarded the contract for the Hornsea 3 project by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which included “ecological compensation measures”.
While the 2,852 MW wind farm is located 160 kilometers (99.4 miles) off the Yorkshire coast (together with the Hornsea 1 and Hornsea 2 installations, which have a combined capacity of more than 5 GW and “cover the electricity consumption of around five million UK households”), three artificial nesting structures have been installed off the Suffolk coastline, two of which are about a kilometer (0.62 miles) from Lowestoft and a third at 1. RSPB Minesmere Nature Reserve is 0.87 miles away.
Hailed as the first of its kind, the purpose-built buildings were designed by a team of ecologists, architects and engineers to appeal to the underprivileged black-legged kittiwake. They each have eight side walls, seven of which have narrow ledges fitted with compartments to mimic natural nesting sites on cliffs, and emergency access barn doors on the remaining side.
The installation process began with the assembly of the structural elements in the port of Lowestoft, before being towed to the site using Red7Marine’s Typhoon 3000 and Haven SeaChallenger jack-up barges.
For each man-nested structure, massive monopiles were hoisted from jack-up barges, angled through custom piling gates, installed using vibratory hammers, and driven 30 m (98.4 ft) below the seafloor using self-piloted percussion hammers. The top nesting structure is then hoisted into place and bolted.
The base is painted yellow, with navigation lights on the off-white nesting structures, as required by the local port authority and coast guard. Each unit has approximately 500 nesting spaces, and the occupancy and productivity of these spaces will be monitored and data shared with local groups such as the Lowestoft Kittiwake Partnership.
“We are delighted to announce the successful completion of ‘Project RISSA’, which involved the installation of three artificial nesting structures,” said Kristen Branford, Managing Director of Red7Marine. “These structures will play a vital role in supporting important and vulnerable species while providing clean, green electricity to the Hornsea 3 project. The project is the first of its kind and required careful planning and consideration, and we are proud to have achieved this important milestone.”
source: Red 7 Marines