Jul 24, 2014

New Study Shows Offshore Wind Farms Create Reef Effect

Green Tech
UK
Admin
2 min
While wind farms have had a tumultuous history with wildlife, specifically birds, a new study shows that offshore wind farms can create a ‘reef...

While wind farms have had a tumultuous history with wildlife, specifically birds, a new study shows that offshore wind farms can create a ‘reef effect,’ acting as an artificial reef that aquatic life cluster around over time.  

This is especially a boon to seals, since the seals take advantage of the now easily accessible sources of food.

The study was conducted by an international team of researchers from the Britain, Holland, and the U.S. and was published in the Current Biology Journal. It ultimately concluded that the farms can be extremely fertile feeding grounds for the seals that choose to seek them out.

The hard structure beneath the ocean attracts barnacles, crustaceans, and fish.

Research fellow at the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St. Andrews and lead researcher on the study Dr. Deborah Russell explained that “things like barnacles and mussels will settle on hard structures and then that in turn will attract other marine species and it builds up over time.”

Dr. Russell told British newspaper The Independent that “The seals will be eating fish that are attracted to the artificial reef; we are not actually sure what species they are eating but I think it might be species like cod and whiting.”

The study was conducted using GPS-tracked seals, which researchers monitored around the clock.

"You could see that the individual appeared to travel in straight lines between turbines, as if he was checking them out for potential prey and then stopping to forage at certain ones," Dr. Russell said.

The study’s conclusions are yet to be analyzed and further research is necessary. It’s not yet determined what the long-term effects of this will be and if the wind farms actually foster growth of more pretty for seals or merely concentrate the current prey.

"Only a small proportion of our study seals utilized wind farms or pipelines," Dr. Russell said. "At present these structures cover a small proportion of the extent of the at-sea distribution of seals. As wind farms become more extensive, many more seals will likely be affected."

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May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

schools
energyefficiency
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

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