Offshore wind farm – a des res for marine life

A study by Dutch marine ecologists reveals that a wind energy farm in the North Sea has very few negative effects on local fauna. On the contrary, the turbine piles of the Egmond aan Zee offshore wind farm (OWEZ) have created a new habitat for seabed creatures such as mussels, anemones and crabs, and provide a desirable residence for cod. Marine mammals are found more often inside the farm boundary than outside, and most bird species are not particularly bothered by its presence. Cormorants seem to quite like the wind farm.

IMARES scientist Han Lindeboom and his colleagues say that the environmental impact of a wind farm depends on its location and the depth of the surrounding area. In the Dutch coastal zone, wind farms offer a relative oasis of calm, say the researchers, what with all the inshore fishing, pollution, gas and sand extraction, and shipping. Rotating turbine blades can have a disruptive effect, but this is true only for certain species of birds.

Further reading

Lindeboom et al., “Short-term ecological effects of an offshore wind farm in the Dutch coastal zone; a compilation”, Env. Res. Lett. 6, 035101 (2011)