The Berlin University of Technology and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation organised a workshop for an international exchange of experience on approaches for assessing the environmental impacts of offshore wind farms. The event took place in Berlin on 17 and 18 March 2005, and was commissioned by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The main objectives of the conference were to promote international exchange on:
- Present knowledge of the impacts of offshore wind farms on marine biota
- National licensing or permit procedures, and legal framework for offshore wind energy projects
- Methods and criteria for the assessment of possible environmental impacts of offshore wind farms, which have applied for licensing in various countries
- Different approaches and criteria for the assessment of impacts of offshore wind farms
- Further development of basic principles and methods for the assessment of impacts on the marine biota due to offshore wind farms:
- Feasibility of measuring and monitoring the impact of offshore wind farms on the marine biota and the effect on individuals and populations (e.g. habitat loss)
- Application of population models for impact prognosis
- Selection of suitable reference or judgement values (e.g. population size, bio-geographic area, number in national waters) as a standard for assessment
- Methods for cumulative and trans-boundary impact assessment.
On the first day the participants were welcomed and an introduction to the conference was given. This was followed by presentations from various countries on concerns of marine nature conservation in planning and decision-making procedures for offshore wind farms. In the afternoon introductory presentations to the workshops on different marine biota were given by several national and international experts. On the second day the workshops focused on discussing and exchanging experiences on the assessment of impacts from offshore wind farms on marine mammals, benthos and fish, sea and resting birds and migrating birds. The results of the workshops were later presented in the main plenary.
This report includes the main results from the presentations (see chapter ‘Proceedings of the Presentations’) as well as the main conclusions which emerged from the four workshops and from the discussions in the main plenary.
The workshop constitutes Part A of a larger research project. A number of literature reviews were also carried out in the context of this overall research project “International Exchange of Experiences about Ecological Research on Offshore Wind Farms”. Their purpose was to evaluate the results of the environmental research accompanying windfarm planning, and also to settle various questions on the ecological impacts of offshore wind turbines. The literature reviews are to be published in a separate volume of the Bundesamt für Naturschutz (BfN) papers.