A sonar study of hundreds of First World War shipwrecks around the coast of Wales is giving vital data for the placement of renewable energy projects.
Meanwhile, an auction of rights to establish a new generation of wind projects around the UK coast will be opened this month by the Crown Estate, which manages the national coastal seabed.
Four sites off the coast of England and Wales have been identified for wind-farm expansion.
The multi-beam sonar on the Prince Madog research ship has surveyed more than 300 shipwrecks in the Irish Sea, with many dating back to the war.
Bangor University’s Dr Mike Roberts said: “While these wartime relics can provide valuable information to historians and archaeologists, they may also help lead to the birth of a new industry.
“The data we’re collecting is providing unique insights into how these wrecks influence physical and biological processes in the marine environment.”
The wrecks show the impact of being under the sea for a century, offering data for the development of offshore wind, wave and tidal turbines.
The data has helped the Morlais marine energy, a tidal-stream scheme off Anglesey, and a wave project south of Pembrokeshire where tests are due in 2020.
The UK this month is looking to add 7 gigawatts to its renewable capacity, or enough to power around 6 million homes.
Roberts said: “The ambition in Wales is to generate energy from the sea. It’s a unique place to do it because not everywhere has got strong currents, big waves or tidal surges, but you get all of that in Wales.
“If you’re going to put lots of machines on the seabed we need to know the impact on the seabed. It could sink or get buried in sediment.
“We’re hoping to inform them through research about the seabed what ships are there and the most stable places to do this.”
A major expansion in the UK’s offshore wind capacity is being planned this month.
The Crown Estate in July said it would run an auction for rights to operate new offshore wind farms, the first major leasing round in 10 years, with the tender process opening during October.
The Crown Estate controls the seabed up to 20km off the coast of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The agency, which funds Queen Elizabeth’s household, said it “works closely with industry and stakeholders to identify sites for sustainable development”.
Picture credit: Wikimedia