Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics
Due to the increasing desire for renewable energy and the reduced acceptability of onshore wind developments in the UK, the last few years has seen an increase in the development of large offshore wind farms. Whilst these are generally too far offshore for operational noise to be a concern with turbines typically installed between 5 and 30 km from the coastline. Installation of offshore turbines frequently requires piles to be driven into the seabed during construction of the turbine foundations. Offshore piling can only be carried out under calm sea conditions and relatively low wind speeds so in order to minimise construction periods, piling is typically undertaken whenever weather conditions allow which often results in piles being driven late at night or in the early hours of the morning. This paper discusses the peculiarities of assessing this type of construction noise. In particular, this paper includes a brief discussion of the consenting process that applies to offshore wind energy developments methods for predicting onshore noise levels from piling works at large distances from the coastline, a discussion of the appropriateness or otherwise of standard construction noise criteria to this type of noise and an example of long term monitoring that has previously been carried out to monitor noise levels during construction of an offshore wind farm including examples of noise levels measured at onshore locations during offshore piling. For the purposes of this paper, offshore renewable energy infrastructure includes: – offshore wind turbines; – offshore substations; – offshore meteorological masts; and – offshore cabling. The construction of onshore infrastructure elements (eg. onshore cabling. substations etc.) associated with offshore renewable energy projects is not considered in this paper.
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