Neart na Gaoithe Wind Farm enters the first phase of offshore construction

Scottish offshore wind farm Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) has recently entered the first phase of offshore construction just off the Fife coast. EDF Renewables UK acquired the project in May 2018. Irish energy company ESB took a 50% stake in the project in November 2019 to jointly construct the site which is expected to be commissioned by 2023.

Osprey is proud of our association with the NnG project team in achieving some major aviation-related milestones to enable this offshore wind development project to move forward.

Osprey has been providing airspace consultancy expertise to the project since 2015 to support planning approval activities. Our initial analysis revealed that the planned NnG development would be theoretically detectable by and adversely affect the Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR) system and its operational environment at Leuchars Station – formerly Royal Air Force (RAF) Leuchars. Radar ‘clutter’ created by the detection of the operational wind turbines may affect the provision of radar based Air Traffic Service (ATS) operations thereby requiring a change to the arrangements and procedures in the immediate airspace surrounding the development site.

On behalf of NnG, Osprey developed and submitted an Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with the aim to establish a Transponder Mandatory Zone (TMZ) encompassing the wind farm site, which together with radar blanking, would mitigate the effects and allow the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to lift their objection to the planning application.

Upon receipt of the ACP, the CAA undertook detailed analysis of the operational requirements, the environmental assessments and the consultation process completed by Osprey. The Osprey team worked closely with the CAA and the MOD to develop the optimum solution for the airspace, reducing the originally proposed design to two smaller geographic areas within the consulted area. This minimised the impact to other airspace users in the vicinity. Following a further review period, the CAA granted approval of the airspace solution.

Stewart Heald, Senior Consultant at Osprey said “It has been a pleasure to work with EDF, their partners and the NnG team in developing the airspace solution to allow planning consent. Wind power is now set to play an even bigger role and once commissioned the NnG site will provide a significant contribution towards renewable energy targets. We are proud to have played our part by gaining approval of the CAA for the airspace change. This project highlights that with careful planning and a proactive and collaborative approach, wind turbine developments and aviation can co-exist – but the safety of the airspace must remain paramount.”

Over the past 14 years, Osprey has developed a reputation for excellence in the field of renewable energy and aviation impact. We are currently one of the UK’s leading experts in the management of the impact of wind energy on aviation systems and regularly work with a wide range of wind farm developers and regional airports. Our aim is always to pursue a collaborative and innovative approach to mitigating the effects of wind turbines on aviation, discharging planning conditions to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.

To discuss how we can support your wind project, please contact us: [email protected]

Image credit: Saipem

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