The challenges of shifting sands in offshore renewable energy projects

April 12, 2016

RIL’s MD, Prof. John M. Reynolds attended the Marine and River Dune Dynamics MARID-5 international conference held in Caernarfon, North Wales, on the 4th and 5th April.

He gave one of three invited keynote presentations entitled ‘Managing the issue of seabed sediment in offshore renewable energy projects’. In his presentation he outlined key issues with regard to undertaking seabed sediment mobility analyses over an irregular rough topography formed by differential erosion of contrasting sub-cropping substrate materials with bedforms situated on the topographic highs. This contrasted with most numerical and flume-based analyses that use a flat, smooth substrate over which the bedforms develop and migrate. He also described the issues associated with a new major project being proposed off the North Wales coast, for which he is also Technical Director (Environment), for North Wales Tidal Energy and Coastal Protection Co. Ltd. He described the key issues associated with different scale marine hydrodynamic processes and how they impact on coastal processes, which in turn affect shoreline coastal flood defences and key dune systems designated as Special Areas of Conservation. He highlighted how important it is for these processes to be understood before any major infrastructure projects are developed along the North Wales coast. The topic of his keynote attracted significant media attention, including BBC Wales radio news, the BBC News website and particularly BBC Wales TV News, which broadcast his interview on Welsh national TV several times on the 5th April.