These islands are a key enabler in order to develop multiple windfarms far from the shore. They will help us increase our renewables mix on the grid and our collective efforts to reach net-zero. These projects will be very high profile projects and, given their role in our efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, it will be vitally important to consider how to minimise the impacts of their construction as much as possible.
Again, practices used by other industries can be applied to help this challenge. Cutting emissions by refining dredging practices and techniques, for instance, is one potentially significant way of reducing carbon. Better design of port components can also cut capital expenditure costs and emissions. The use of construction materials can be minimised by ensuring breakwaters and quays are designed at the optimum height and size, and designing with local materials in mind can cut down on transportation and associated carbon footprint.
It is also possible to create opportunities for biodiversity net gain to offset habitats lost during construction. For example, new quays can incorporate measures to encourage flora and fauna to colonise the structure. Wall structure designs could include surfaces that are less smooth and have the right chemistry to promote marine life such as algae and crustaceans to attach to them.
Clearly, energy islands provide a huge opportunity to enable the wind sector expand effectively to produce more clean energy, but there is also the potential to develop them in a truly sustainable way. By taking advice and carefully considering designs in advance, developers should be able to minimise the carbon impact needed to build the islands, whilst creating environmental, societal and economic value well into the future.