Wind farms good for sea life - but not birds

Wind farms are good for almost all sea life living around them, according to new research backed by the industry.

For as long as wind farms have been proposed, organisations representing the natural environment, birds and animals have been concerned about the schemes.

But while this latest research is mostly positive about wind farms it also reveals that, even with specially chosen locations, bird deaths 'would have to be accepted'.

The research, funded by NoordzeeWind a joint venture between Nuon and Shell Wind Energy, was carried out by a consortium the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Wageningen UR, Koninklijk and Bureau Waardenburg.

It focused on the North Sea, of the cost of Britain, claims wind farm far from disrupting the natural environment in fact create new natural habitats for organisms living on the sea bed such as mussels, anemones, and crabs.

The researchers described their findings in an article recently published on the scientific website, Environmental Research Letters online, summarising the results of the first two years of research.

For fish and marine mammals, the research also claimed, wind farms provide 'an oasis of calm' in what are relatively busy coastal areas.

However, the report does look at the effects of rotating blades of wind turbines as having a 'significant disruptive effect' on some species of birds.

This led researchers to suggest that for the purpose of generating energy, special areas should be set aside in the sea for wind farms.

The report states: "Unavoidable effects, such as a local reduction in the numbers of some bird species would then have to be accepted, but by choosing the location appropriately, these effects can be minimised."

Luke Walsh


fish | wind energy | energy manager


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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