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Business Situation

As the UK’s premier green company with sustainability at the heart of its business, SSE Renewables is sensitive to the environmental impact of its wind farms. This includes monitoring protected species that live close to proposed wind farm locations to ensure the installation won't have a negative impact on habitats. However, manual counts of local wildlife populations, including puffins, were time consuming and inaccurate. The company wanted a better way to monitor the birds’ movement as it expedites the wind farm consenting process.

Solution

In a live trial, we positioned cameras on Scotland's Isle of May to detect the birds and then uploaded the recorded video and images to the Microsoft Azure platform, where a Microsoft Vision AI model is run. SSE Renewables can then use this insight to help make its wind farms safer for local wildlife.

“Having the opportunity to work with Microsoft and Avanade has been great. Everybody’s pulled together to deliver a successful project that is going to reap fantastic business benefits.”

James Scobie Digital Delivery Lead, SSE Renewables

Results

The 24/7 digital capture of puffins and a validated AI model have accelerated bird counts and increased their accuracy. SSE Renewables plans to potentially extend this solution to monitor dolphins, porpoises and other wildlife populations. Such sustainability efforts will become more critical as the UK expands its wind farm projects in the North Sea.

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