Study suggests offshore wind farms are safe for wildlife

A Dutch study into the environmental impact of wind energy has found that offshore wind farms do little harm to wildlife and may even benefit some ecosystems

The research was conducted at Windpark Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands’ first large offshore wind farm on the North Sea coast.

The presence of wind turbines appeared to have little effect on local wildlife, and may have a positive impact in the long-term, concluded researchers from Wagenigen University.

“Some fish species, such as cod, seem to find shelter inside the farm,” the study found, while “more porpoise clicks were recorded inside the farm than in the reference areas outside the farm.”

Dangers posed to bird populations are often cited by critics of wind turbines. However, the report revealed little overall impact, with several bird species avoiding the park while others are indifferent or are even attracted. However, the report recommended that wind farms are located in specific areas as to minimise disruption to the flight patterns of some bird species.

Overall, the wind farm was found to act as a new type of habitat with an increased biodiversity of marine organisms.

Professor Han Lindeboom said that for fish and marine mammals, the wind farms provided an oasis of calm in a busy coastal area.