The challenge of tracking seals around tidal turbines

5/21/2022 11:47:00 AM

The challenge of tracking seals around tidal turbines

The challenge of tracking seals around tidal turbines

The experts making sure marine mammals are protected by underwater green tidal power.

And secondly, hydrophones (underwater microphones), which listen out for creatures that make echolocation clicks - such as dolphins and porpoises - to work out what they're up to.Dr Douglas Gillespie shows Harriet the sonar device that send out a very high frequency "ping"

Now no-one ever said this project - five years in the making and funded by the Scottish government, the Natural Environment Research Council and MeyGen - was going to be easy.But where there's a will, there's a way, and after some test deployments, design changes and sorting out the power supply, this piece of kit has been sunk underwater and plugged in next to tidal turbines off the coast of John o' Groats.

Read more: BBC News (UK) »

Infected blood victims to be offered £100,000 in government compensation

Patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products imported from America - it is thought around 2,400 people died as a result. Read more >>

The 6 Trouser Trends We're Backing For 2022From cargo trousers to track pants, these are the 6 trouser trends we’re backing for 2022.

Royal Mail warns of possible price hikes to battle surging inflationThe group recently hiked the cost of posting letters by an average of around 7%

Cannes film festival and Cape Canaveral: Friday’s best photosThe Guardian’s picture editors select highlights from around the world

Ukraine can’t jump queue to join EU, warns ScholzOlaf Scholz has insisted that Ukraine cannot be fast-tracked into membership of the European Union. “There are no shortcuts on the way to the EU,” Scholz told MPs today, adding that making an exception for Ukraine would be unfair on western Balkan countries such as Serbia and Albania, which are also Open the Gates, let them all join at once. If the Balkan states, and Ukraine join at once, that will send a seismic message to Moscow that will rattle the Kremlin. Putin uses power plays as leverage, the EU and NATO should do so as well Imagine an ambulance hurrying, wouldn't you give it a path between the cars? GillJames54 But of course, what else did you expect? Germany still buying Russian gas, allowing payments in roubles....

Intense fighting around Severodonetsk as Zelenskiy says Donbas is ‘hell’Russian forces thought to be trying to cut one of the main supply routes to Ukrainian defenders in the area Sure... Severodonestsk is the new Mariupol. Putin needs it to control Donbas The difference is, he ain't getting it. Ukraine is seriously hampering the Russian advance. And with every day come new weapons and new reinforcements from the West.

Kim flashes the flesh in LA ahead of Kourtney's 'Italian wedding'Kim Kardashian was a showstopping presence when she was spotted stepping out in sunny Los Angeles this week. The 42-year-old reality star flashed the flesh in a backless black outfit. BRIE LARSON and REACHER Star Alan Ritchson join The Fast & Furious Franchise. Find out which other A-list stars are signing on to the Fast X Movie in this 3min clip. FastX fashion FAST10 JACKREACHER FastandFurious10 Is that her butt! KOL

One of the test project turbines being lowered into the sea On board are two types of sensors.Pinterest BEN WELLER All products featured on British Vogue are independently selected by our editors.Pic: Steve Parsons/PA Wire Cautioning over possible further price hikes, Royal Mail has revealed plans to ramp up cost cutting.Anne Hathaway poses for photographers at the 75th Cannes film festival.

Firstly, sonar devices, that send out a very high frequency "ping" that seals can't hear but which builds up an image of their activities - imagine something out of an action movie but the orange shadow wiggling across the screen is a seal not jaws. And secondly, hydrophones (underwater microphones), which listen out for creatures that make echolocation clicks - such as dolphins and porpoises - to work out what they're up to. Trousers have always been an integral part of the contemporary wardrobe, but the sheer variety of trouser-specific trends that have cropped up over the course of 2022 is particularly noteworthy. Finally, it has an "umbilical chord". Read More Mail deliveries by drones to take off, Royal Mail announces Royal Mail insisted it was not planning further job losses to meet the new target, having in January already announced about 700 management jobs would go as part of already announced cost-cutting aims. Image caption, Dr Douglas Gillespie shows Harriet the sonar device that send out a very high frequency "ping" Inside this steel-clad, thick and weighty yellow cable are optical fibres, which are actually about as thick as a human hair, that help bring the data ashore for analysis. So where to begin? For a casual weekend ensemble we recommend experimenting with. It's heavy enough to lie on the seafloor and doubles up as a power cable too.

Now no-one ever said this project - five years in the making and funded by the Scottish government, the Natural Environment Research Council and MeyGen - was going to be easy. On a reported basis, pre-tax profits fell 8. Some of the challenges faced highlight some of the reasons why tidal power is far behind wind in terms of development. Think about it: salt water, strong currents, electrical equipment… But where there's a will, there's a way, and after some test deployments, design changes and sorting out the power supply, this piece of kit has been sunk underwater and plugged in next to tidal turbines off the coast of John o' Groats. Image caption, The underwater turbines are huge Where exactly? In the Pentland Firth, which boasts some of the strongest, fastest tidal currents in the world. Chief executive Simon Thompson told the PA news agency the group remains in “intense discussions” with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) as they look to agree on pay. The "plugged-in" bit is crucial because this monitoring device has a constant power supply, meaning it's set to give long-term data.

Dr Douglas Gillespie, a senior research fellow at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, says the industry can't develop without this "ground-breaking" data. He told BBC Click : "This is really essential core knowledge for this industry. Mr Thompson said the firm was already seeing “some impact” of the cost-of-living crisis on parcel demand and a “fall away from peaks” during lockdowns when shops were shut. "And if the government wants to license, large-scale tidal turbine developments, they absolutely are crying out for this knowledge so they can know what the environmental impact is going to be." Image caption, Dr Douglas Gillespie, Dr. Gordon Hastie and Fraser Johnson are part of the team behind the project They have previously deployed equipment at this site in 2016, with data collected between 2017 and early 2020. The group said it was at a “crossroads” in its overhaul as parcel delivery becomes ever more important.

It showed porpoises visiting the site and the turbine every day but importantly when the rotors were on, these animals didn't actually swim through them, they went around them. But there's a missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle. The problem is the species of seals we have in the UK don't make very much noise underwater. “Our focus now is to work at pace with our people and our trade unions to reinvent this British icon for the next generations. So the only way to track them is through using active sonar, which is the new bit. And this is essential when you think about the plight of harbour seals in this part of Scotland.

They were once known as the common seal, but that's just not reflective of their populations anymore. Image caption, The power of the sea in the Pentland Firth is both an opportunity and a challenge Dr Gordon Hastie, a senior research fellow at the Sea Mammal Research Unit, says that about 20 years ago there would have been about 11,000 harbour seals in Orkney and the north coast of Scotland but 85% of the population has been lost. It's not really fully known why but it could include changes in the prey, disease, biotoxin exposure, killer whale predation or competition with grey seals. He says: "So there's a real conservation concern in terms of new industries being developed in areas that we want to minimise any potential impacts on these populations." Dr Hastie says marine wildlife has an awful lot to lose from climate change and tidal energy is part of the drive towards green energy but it is also important to consider the potential impact on the local environment.

That's why industry is involved in this project. Image caption, The seals show up as an orange mark on the sonar Fraser Johnson, the operations and maintenance manager of the Meygen Tidal Energy Project, is working with Dr Gillespie and Dr Hastie to get the data. The MeyGen array currently has four turbines, the next step is to install potentially up to 40, but they need to know what the impact is on marine life. Mr Johnson says tidal energy would be more predictable than wind. "The wind doesn't always blow but tidal always keeps going and it's really that ability for us to keep the lights on," he says.

"I can tell you tomorrow right now, what's going to happen on site in a week, in a month, in 50 years' time. I can tell you how much we're going to produce. That predictability is where tidal really has its niche in the market." Now installed, the team says the industry worldwide will be looking to learn from the data they gather this year because unlocking the secret lives of these creatures around turbines is needed to help industry move forward and for us to tackle climate change. .