An image of the boat RV Celtic Explorer in harbour

First Survey of 2022

2021 proved to be a busy and fruitful year for the survey management team at GDG with a wide range of geophysical, geotechnical and environmental surveys being coordinated across the globe.

We kicked off the new year in a similar fashion with our first survey of 2022 commencing on the 4th of January with the RV Celtic Explorer mobilizing out of Cork to undertake a seabed geotechnical campaign in the Irish Sea using a cone penetration testing (CPT) system operated by Marine Sampling Holland.

GDG is coordinating this work as part of a wider research project being managed by GDG to demonstrate the value of a data-led system where detailed geoscience information is collected early and used to inform the site selection of Offshore Renewable Energy developments.

This research involves highlighting the potential to integrate high-resolution CPT data with the publicly collected INFOMAR geophysical datasets to derive a holistic understanding of the conditions off the Irish coast.

By using the Marine Institute vessel, this survey also serves as a proof-of-concept pilot study to demonstrate how state assets can be used directly to inform site selection decisions as part of a move toward an enduring plan-led framework for the delivery of Offshore Wind Energy (as outlined by DECC in recent consultations).

This work represents a strategic initiative developed by GDG, with a combination of internal investment and support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

An image of the coastline of Cork

This work builds on a previous research project with was undertaken on behalf of the Department of the Environment Climate and Communications to review INFOMAR, a twenty-year programme to map the physical, chemical, and biological features of Ireland’s seabed.

The work included a thorough review of the data and outputs of the INFORMAR project in the context of the requirements of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Sector in Ireland with the view to highlighting areas where the additional value may be added to programme activities to support the development of ORE in Ireland.

An image of the coastline of Ireland from the sea

The report showed that INFOMAR currently has by far the most value to the ORE sector in the pre-auction phases, being an invaluable resource for:

  • Assessing site viability and foundation optioneering for sites where bedrock is <25m below sea floor (bsf);
  • Understanding export cable route geology to the full depth of interest;
  • and reducing the scope of pre-auction G&G surveys. However, types of geotechnical data, such as those acquired by CPT, which would typically be required for foundation assessments are not acquired by INFOMAR.

The report concluded that for most sites, additional G&G data will therefore be required prior to auction. Part of the focus of the current I-MORE survey was to evaluate the suitability of state-assets such as the Celtic Explorer to address these data gaps.

GDG kicked off 2022 with its first survey, commencing 4th of January, with the RV Celtic Explorer mobilizing out of Cork to undertake a seabed geotechnical campaign in the Irish Sea, using a cone penetration testing (CPT) system operated by Marine Sampling Holland.

RV Celtic Explorer

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