Wind Turbines, Sea Monsters and Robots – Check Out Stall 3 at the Feein Market

By Jane Cruickshank / June 2, 2023
moody shot of offshore wind farm

By Amy Needham

Thistle Wind Partners (TWP), a new offshore wind developer founded in 2020 by a French-Belgian consortium, is taking a stall at the Feein Market on Saturday.

TWP was awarded a 187km2 area of seabed 44km off the coast of Aberdeenshire under the ScotWind leasing round last year. They are now in the planning and surveying stage for their proposed 1GW Bowdun Offshore Wind Farm (1GW = enough power for an estimated 1.2 million homes). You may recognise the name – the farm will be named after local landmark Bowdun Head, which points directly out to the site.

In recent weeks, their geophysical survey vessel has been deploying from Aberdeen Harbour to map the seabed structure at the site. Contractor APEM has been sending out small planes for over a year now (with a year to go) for tracking marine birds and mammals.

Aerial surveys have the advantage of causing minimal disruption to other vessels and are made by possible by innovative use of LiDAR (a form of radar using light pulses), which can track a bird’s flight path to within 10cm accuracy. All of this information, together with metocean, benthic and a variety of other studies will contribute to the wind farm’s Environmental Impact Assessment and planning permission – due for submission in 2025.

Construction at the site will only begin in 2029, with first blast of energy coming to shore in the early 2030’s.

What will the wind farm look like?

The data TWP receive from the surveys will inform the choice of turbines (they are looking at a range of 18MW to 25MW – the largest today is 15MW). The foundations will be fixed to the seabed at Bowdun rather than ‘floating’ (tethered by anchors and moving cables for deepwater sites), because most of the seabed is less than 70m in depth.

Once the team know their final turbine designs, they will be able to show us how much we would see from such a long distance offshore. Likewise, this August, TWP will learn the connection point for their onshore substation and underground cables, potentially connecting into Aberdeenshire. Public consultations on plans are planned for September onwards.

What are they doing at the Feein Market?

Call by the TWP stand to view the project maps, find out more about the project, and put your questions to the team. On hand will be marine scientist Nicholas Moore, Electrical and Grid Lead Jean Lewis and Supply Chain Manager Gavin MacKay.

There will also be competitions, quizzes and plenty of info on turbines of the future for kids. That’s where the sea monsters and robots come in!

You can find more information at www.twp.scot The competition for kids opens at 8am on Saturday and you can view the terms and prizes here. Materials and more info will be available at the stall.