Environmental Impact Assessment for Conversation Interests in Offshore Wind Farms

Planning with current methods and improvements through automation of procedures

Company / Unternehmen: IMARE – Institut für Marine Ressourcen GmbH / Institute for Marine Resources GmbH
Speaker / Referent: Antonia Dix
Position: Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

The installation of offshore wind turbines in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) represents a substantial step towards sustainable energy production in Germany. The monitoring of marine environmental impacts plays an important part in the approval procedure for offshore wind farms which is ruled by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) standards for the Environmental Impact Assessment. Technical instructions for the survey of each feature of conservation interest (i.e. birds, marine mammals, fish and benthos) have been defined in these regulations.

In our contribution we will explain standard procedures and monitoring methods (i.e. ship- and aircraft-based, radar, beam trawl) and present costs, logistic complexity and reliability in order to highlight cost savings. To reduce associated monitoring costs a higher level of automation will be necessary without impairing data interpretation. It was evident from our cost-benefit analysis that e.g. scale up of wind turbines or park size play an important factor in the planning of effective and cost-efficient monitoring tools, indicating the need for innovative technical developments in current survey methods.

The early involvement of environmental impact assessment into wind farm projects enables a system integrated implementation of regulations leading to positive synergetic effects for the overall project including benefits through automation of procedures.