Insights from Ewan, Project Director
2023 was a year of progress for Arven Offshore Wind Farm, laying the foundations for a long journey ahead and building our relationships with stakeholders. As we look to the future, we’re committed to shaping a new legacy for offshore wind.
Following the award of the 1.8 GW site off the Shetland Islands in 2022, the 50:50 joint venture between Mainstream Renewable Power and Ocean Winds partnered on a second 500 MW ScotWind site located east of Shetland. Both sites will be developed as a single entity, expanding Arven’s overall capacity to 2.3 GW.
Since then, we have grown our expert project team to over 20 team members – whose skills and experience are invaluable as we develop Arven and ensure we involve the Shetland community right from the start. Our goal is not just to produce sustainable energy but to make a positive impact in Shetland, and more widely across Scotland and the UK.
During 2023, Arven initiated early local engagement activity with key stakeholders, including the fishing industry and the supply chain. We are committed to collaborating with the community during development to understand and incorporate expectations, where possible, to ensure the success of the project. Our conversations to date have been open, constructive and informative and we will continue to listen intently and move forward with integrity.
Alongside early engagement, we commenced the first phase of environmental studies. Monthly aerial bird surveys of the wind farm array areas began in April 2023 and these will continue until spring 2025, alongside shore and vessel-based counts of coastal seabird breeding colonies. Additionally, a benthic survey took samples, videos and photos of seabed habitats from the array areas and the neighbouring Pobie Bank Special Area of Conservation.
Find out more about our recent aerial surveys, here.
The results from these surveys will provide a robust baseline for the Environmental Impact Assessment which will accompany a future consent application.
In the community, we are proud of the partnerships Arven has formed. Our collaboration with the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) and Sail Training Shetland highlight our ambition to go beyond being a sustainable energy producer, contributing positively to the local community and creating a legacy.
Looking ahead, Arven is ready to progress its mission to shape a new legacy for offshore wind in Shetland. We’re gearing up to host our first local consultation event in Lerwick early in 2024 where we’ll share information on the project’s progress and provide stakeholders with an opportunity to help shape early development plans.
Later this year, we’ll release an Offshore Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report, shaping the foundation for the subsequent Environmental Impact Assessment to support future consent applications. There will be opportunity for stakeholders and the local community to engage in this process by responding to the Scoping Report consultation. Updates will be shared on our website.
We’ll be continuing engagement to boost local Shetland supply chain potential, meeting regularly with local businesses and development agencies to understand capabilities and begin early discussions about the opportunities Arven will bring.
At the end of 2023, Arven opened a project office in Lerwick town centre. The opening of a new base in Shetland not only gives us a physical presence but also opens the doors to increased opportunities for engagement, further strengthening our relationships in the community.
As Arven progresses, our commitment to sustainability, community engagement and responsible practices remains firm. We’ll continue to share updates about project news on our website, so please keep an eye out.