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The large scale impact of offshore windfarm structures on pelagic primary production in the southern North Sea

The large scale impact of offshore windfarm structures on pelagic primary production in the southern North Sea

We are going to build a lot of off-shore wind farms in the North Sea. These have often in deep water where fewer mussels and other animals live. The rotors have foundations, which essentially are forming a lot of shallower islands in the deep water, an artificial riff. This is good for mussels and other animals that like protection, shallower water and a solid base. Life in the sea is likely to become richer and more diverse.

Published inPost Car Society

2 Comments

  1. Armin

    Yet that might not help the birds being chopped up by the rotors….

    • kris kris

      The National Audubon Society is a non-profit environmental organisation dedicated to conservation. It is named in honor of John James Audubon, a Franco-American ornithologist and naturalist who painted, cataloged, and described the birds of North America in his famous book Birds of America published in sections between 1827 and 1838. It is very much involved with Bird Protection.

      In listing threats to birds, Audubon states in Hundreds of Millions of Birds Killed Annually from Building Collisions:

      Buildings can be deadly obstacles for birds. Some 365 to 988 million birds are killed when they smash into structures, estimates a study published last month into The Condor: Ornithological Applications. […] The research, based on 92,000-plus records across 23 studies, is a “really good step” in increasing our understanding of building collision mortality, says Susan B. Elbin, director of conservation and science at the New York City Audubon. “We need to put the science behind this issue and not just tell the story of birds dying,” she says.

      For comparison, the study gives the following numbers: “And threats there are aplenty. Kitties remain the number one killer: The group has found that free-ranging domestic cats kill anywhere from 1.3 to 4 billion birds per year, with feral felines mostly to blame.An additional 140,000 to 328,000 birds fall victim to wind turbines, the group estimates. Next, they’ll investigate deaths related to power-line electrocutions and collisions, vehicle collisions, and possibly lead poisoning.”

      So, yes, birds may die in wind turbines, but the numbers are a factor of 1000 below other causes of death for birds. We are talking literally about a promille sized cause.

      This Paper discusses causes and mitigation, and contains a lot of useful references.

      This study concludes:

      The avoidance responses documented above mean
      that although turbine construction at sea has a major
      effect on the local (i.e. wind farm project level) distribution,
      abundance and flight patterns of birds, the
      corollary is that many fewer birds come within the risk
      zone of the rotor blade sweep zone. Radar study results
      demonstrated that birds may show avoidance
      responses up to 5 km from the turbines, and that >50%
      of birds heading for the wind farm avoid passing
      within it. Radar studies at Horns Rev and Nysted also
      confirm that many birds entering the wind farm reorientate
      to fly down between turbine rows, frequently
      equidistant between turbines, further minimising collision
      risk.

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