BGS news

BGS awarded research grant to support potential offshore wind development in Iceland

BGS has been awarded the NERC-Arctic grant for a collaboration project with the Iceland GeoSurvey.

13/05/2024 By BGS Press
The Seabed substrate map of Iceland’s marine areas has been compiled for the country´s first comprehensive seabed substrate data set and based on the available data points (>3000) of seafloor samples (unpublished data by the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute of Iceland; Thors, 1978; Erlendsson et al., 2015, 2023). © Iceland GeoSurvey.
The Seabed substrate map of Iceland’s marine areas has been compiled for the country´s first comprehensive seabed substrate data set and based on the available data points (>3000) of seafloor samples (unpublished data by the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute of Iceland; Thors, 1978; Erlendsson et al., 2015, 2023). © Iceland GeoSurvey.

BGS and the Iceland GeoSurvey (ÍSOR) will collaborate and share their knowledge on windfarm development to help drive the opportunity for offshore Icelandic renewable energy.

As part of the one-year project, there will be two field trips, one to Iceland in August 2024 and another to Scotland in September 2024. These trips will combine fieldwork and workshops focused on knowledge exchange, particularly on the process of geological ground model development. They will highlight how geologists characterise the geology and outline potential geological constraints at the seabed, near the seabed surface, and changing coastal domains.

As part of the Icelandic fieldwork, the BGS-ÍSOR partnership will be heading to Skeiðarársandur, the largest glacial outwash plain in the world. This site is an analogue for subsurface conditions expected in buried palaeo-landscapes found in the North Sea. Both countries have rugged coastlines with varying bedrock characteristics. Additionally, Iceland must account for geodynamic shifts due to tectonic plate movements and volcanic eruptions.

Upon project completion, the partnership will gain a deeper understanding of glacial systems, focusing on the range and distribution of sediments and bedrock properties resulting from the diverse coastal formations off the coast of Iceland compared to the UK. This insight will enable project partners to make more informed assessments regarding foundation designs for renewable energy infrastructure.

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The NERC-Arctic grant and cooperation with the British Geological Survey is an exciting opportunity for Iceland to chart and access a completely new area of the renewable industry, as Iceland´s focus has been traditionally onshore in geothermal and hydropower production. This collaboration is the beginning of a better understanding of the opportunities and derisking processes for offshore renewables in extreme environments for Iceland.

Anett Blischke, a marine geoscientist at ÍSOR and the University of Iceland.

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BGS and ÍSOR are part of the Geological Service for Europe (GSEU), aiming to create partnerships and knowledge exchange between countries on optimising offshore windfarm siting. The NERC-Arctic grant is an exciting example of gaining insights into subsurface variability through applied fieldwork, leading to further understanding on the potential impact on foundation design for offshore renewables in different geological settings.

Nicola Dakin, marine geoscientist at BGS.

The Iceland Artic Science Partnership scheme is an opportunity for researchers based in the United Kingdom and Iceland to make joint applications for bursaries ranging from £5,000 to a maximum of £20,000 to support active participation in new partnerships.

Erlendsson, Ö, Blischke, A, Hjartarson, Á, Óðinsson, D Þ, and Vésteinsson, Á Þ.  2023. The Geological mapping of Iceland’s Insular Shelf and Adjacent Deep Ocean. EGU General Assembly 2023, EGU23-15536.

Erlendsson, Ö, Hjartarson, Á, Helgadóttir, G, Jónasson, J P, Ólafsdóttir, S H, and Burgos, J M. 2015. Botngerð og laus jarðlög á landgrunni Íslands. Abstract, Haustráðstefna Jarðfræðifélags Íslands 2015.

Thors, K. 1978. The seabed of the southern part of Faxaflói, Iceland. (Botngerð í sunnanverðum Faxaflóa). Jökull, 28, 42–52.

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