Innovation Topic Offshore Wind and its Environment

The Challenge

Offshore wind energy is playing an increasingly important role in the energy transition. The cost of offshore wind energy is increasingly affected by environmental factors, with the most important being site selection. Trade-offs must be made with consideration for other users of the North Sea, experience from land, ecology etc. The selected site determines the costs (soil conditions, water depth, distance from shore and ports, wind climate, wave climate etc.). Further, the amount of space available for offshore wind energy plays a role (total size and power density).

As a result, the interaction between wind farms and the environment is subject to license obligations. In some cases, there is limited knowledge of the actual impact on the ecology. In such cases, the Government prescribes precautionary measures. These measures may lead to high costs. Examples include the standstill requirement under certain conditions leads to a risk of lost income, or mitigation measurements for underwater noise that leads to higher costs in the construction phase.

 

The R&D Activities

  1. Research on the effects on and the implications for the ecosystem of whether or not to remove the wind farm after the end of its life, where the foundations and rock armouring may function as a reef.
  2. Research and development of methods or technologies for effective deterrence of animals that are at risk of falling victim to collisions with wind turbines. Research and development of methods or technologies to avoid collisions with animals. This includes, for example, the development, optimisation and verification of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) for various animal species (porpoises, seals, fish, bats), lighting (birds) or color (people).
  3. Development of methods or systems for the mitigation of impact such as noise mitigation (underwater noise), bird and bat detection (including infrared, radar) linked to the wind turbine controller.

 Research in this theme is only possible if it does not fall under the Offshore Wind Ecological Programme (WOZEP; generic research programme).