Fabrice Leroy is Head of the Eastern Channel and North Sea Office at France Energies Marines. We interviewed him as part of our Institute’s 2022 activity report.
Why did France Energies Marines wanted to acquire the Fécamp offshore met mast?
Since it was installed in 2015, this mast has been used by the Eoliennes Offshores des Hautes Falaises company as a measuring device in the vicinity of the Fécamp offshore wind farm, including a radar to monitor migratory flows of birds and bats. The Institute has acquired this mast, located around 13 km off the coast of Fécamp, to use it as an offshore research platform for an ambitious study programme on the interaction between offshore wind farms and the marine environment. Called DRACCAR, this programme, which is funded by the Normandy region and the European Regional Development Fund, is being carried out in partnership with the universities of Caen and Le Havre Normandie and INSA Rouen Normandie. In the longer term, the Institute aims to develop a network of offshore observatories linked to the electrical substations of future offshore wind farms. With this in mind, the acquisition of the mast is the first building block for practical experiments in deploying different types of instrumentation and setting up the data acquisition chain.
What does the Institute intend to do specifically?
Various instruments will be deployed to gain a better understanding of the effects of wind farms on the marine environment, and vice versa. Pressure sensors and accelerometers will be placed on the mast to analyse the forces exerted by the waves on the structure. Anemometers and lidars will be used to study wind profiles. Underwater, current profilers and special hydrophones will be deployed to characterise the influence of wind turbines on sediment hydrodynamics. Finally, several technologies will be used to study interactions with marine megafauna, migratory birds and bats: acoustic recorders, hydrophones and a system of synchronised 360° cameras.
When will the first instruments be deployed?
We are currently finalising the technical specifications for the research platform and organising the timetable for deploying the sensors. The first operations at sea, scheduled for early summer 2023, will allow us to install the instruments needed to monitor the marine megafauna.
Photo credit: France Energies Marines