News item | 2011-08-08 | 13:50 PM

Wind farm in North Sea has positive net impact on fauna

A North-Sea wind farm has hardly any negative effects on fauna. It turns out that a wind farm provides a new natural habitat for organisms living on the sea bed such as mussels, anemones, and crabs, thereby contributing to increased biodiversity. At most, a few bird species will avoid such a wind farm. For fish and marine mammals, it provides an oasis of calm in a relatively busy coastal area, according to researcher Prof. Han Lindeboom at IMARES, part of Wageningen UR, and several of his colleagues and fellow scientists at Bureau Waardenburg and Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ).

The team of researchers focused on the short-term ecological effects of a wind farm in the North Sea. To do so, they analysed the effects of the Vattenfall offshore wind farm near Egmond aan Zee on benthic organisms, fish, birds and marine mammals. The researchers described their findings in an article that was recently published on the scientific website, Environmental Research Letters online, in which they summarised the results of the first two years of their research.

The research was funded by NoordzeeWind, a joint venture of Nuon and Shell Wind Energy, and was carried out by a consortium consisting of IMARES, Koninklijk NIOZ and Bureau Waardenburg.

The article, H.J.Lindeboom et al, Short-term ecological effects of an offshore wind farm in the Dutch coastal zone; a compilation can be found on the website of Environmental Research Letters online, http://bit.ly/pDwesG