The Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP) for Offshore Wind is a collaborative initiative that aims to:
- fund research to improve our understanding of the effects of offshore wind on the marine environment
- reduce the risk of not getting or delaying consent for offshore wind developments
- reduce the risk of getting consent with conditions that reduce viability of the project
The programme pools resources from the private sector and public sector bodies to fund projects that support consenting authorities in evaluating the environmental risk of offshore wind. Projects are prioritised and informed by the ORJIP Advisory Network that includes key stakeholders such as statutory nature conservation bodies, academics, non-governmental organisations and others.
Stage 1 of the programme ran from 2012 to 2018 and was managed by the Carbon Trust and funded by The Crown Estate, Marine Scotland and Crown Estate Scotland, with additional developer funding for individual projects. Major studies included an investigation into the efficacy of acoustic deterrent devices on different marine mammals and a pioneering, two-year study to record and quantify the avoidance behaviour of seabirds around offshore wind farms.
Stage 2 of the programme, launched in July 2019 and is expected to run to 2023, with an option to extend the programme up to 2025. During this time, consenting for existing and future offshore wind capacity will be key to enabling the offshore wind industry to ensure the sustainable roll out of offshore wind to help meet the UK’s net zero commitments .
ORJIP Offshore Wind Stage 2 partners
ORJIP Offshore Wind Stage 2 Common R&D
The four common research projects currently being taken forward under ORJIP Offshore Wind Stage 2 have commenced. A project expert panel (PEP) has been set up for each project whom will support it’s delivery. The projects under progression include:
Review of current and planned monitoring of seabird behaviour across operational wind farms
This initial desktop based project will review completed, operational and planned seabird monitoring studies to assess the capacity of the outputs to inform both empirical collision estimates and the ability to quantify reactive behaviours to support the development/improvement of collision risk models. Recommendation will be made on what further monitoring is required to provide a holistic understanding across offshore wind farms on seabirds’ reactive behaviours and collision risk, across species, seasons and geographical locations. The study will also scope the potential for a larger Discretionary Project (DP) to conduct additional monitoring at an operational wind farm(s).
Improving quantification of mortality rates associated with displacement within the assessment process
This project aims to critically review the rates used in the determination process for the mortality of birds displaced by offshore wind farms. Where appropriate, it aims to deliver updated ecologically and geographically informed species-level estimates of the mortality rates, with a clear indication of supporting evidence and associated uncertainty. The results of this project will aim to provide more ecologically and geographically informed estimates of mortality rates for each species reviewed and will be supported by any available evidence and give a clear understanding of the levels of uncertainty associated with them.
Improving methods for apportioning seabirds seen at sea both in the breeding season and non-breeding season
This project aims to reduce uncertainty in how the offshore wind sector apportions seabirds recorded during at-sea surveys to particular populations to enable more robust pre-consent environmental impact assessments by;
- considering how to establish connectivity between birds present in offshore areas at different times of the year and different population scales (e.g. from biogeographic to regional to breeding colonies and designated sites), crucially including the relative contribution of different populations to those seabirds present offshore, and
- by assessing current approaches to apportioning by using empirical data and other evidence sources to validate the assumptions that underpin these methods.
This project will be informed by the use of independent empirical data to evaluate the outputs from existing methods to quantify connectivity and assess apportioning. The overall objective is to identify areas of improvement and make recommendations to improve current approaches or develop new approaches that consider further how to reduce uncertainty in apportioning birds in the breeding and non-breeding season to the various population scales.
Reducing conservatism in underwater noise assessments
This project aims to review real-world underwater noise data measured during piling installation to analyse the differences in noise levels, frequency, duration etc. for different piling methodologies and strategies. The project also aims to compare the real-world data with scenarios modelled during the project’s development to determine the extent of the difference between the modelled estimates and the actual noise measured during construction. The difference will be interrogated to identify any justification in amending assumptions made during the modelling to reduce conservatism and obtain a more realistic output.
To find out more contact ORJIP@carbontrust.com