Offshore Wind farm Egmond aan Zee
Wind power is one of the most important and promising forms of renewable energy, and significant growth is projected for the coming years. Offshore wind farms are an attractive alternative to onshore wind turbines, especially in densely populated countries such as the Netherlands. Benefits of offshore wind farms are economical and social related, as well as benefits gained for mitigating global climate change by increasing the amount of sustainable energy. Drawbacks of offshore wind farms generally heard from the public, are effects on the surroundings such as visual pollution, noise emission and impact on the natural environment. In the summer of 2006 the OWEZ wind farm was built by order of NoordZeeWind (Nuon Duurzame Energie and Shell Wind Energy) and the site is in operation since January 2007. It consists of 36 Vestas V90/3MW turbines with a hub height of 70 m, positioned 10- 18 km off the coast of Egmond aan Zee in the Netherlands.
Monitoring and Evaluation Program
The wind farm serves as a demonstration project to gain knowledge and experience with the construction and exploitation of large-scale offshore wind farms. To collect this knowledge, an extensive Monitoring and Evaluation Program (NSW-MEP) has been designed in which the economical, technical, ecological and social effects of the OWEZ have been gathered. The study on flying birds concerns the ecological effects of the wind farm on flying birds. Effects studied comprise flight paths, flight altitudes and flux of local and migrating seabirds as well as non-marine migrating birds. The report at hand gives the final results of this study. See chapter 2 for a process description of the monitoring program and for an overview of related reports.
Birds in the North Sea
A large variety of birds can be found in the wind farm area. Seabirds, such as common scoter, red-throated diver or northern gannet, are found foraging or resting here in considerable numbers during specific periods of the year, even though the major seabird concentrations are situated elsewhere (Lindeboom et al. 2005; Skov et al. 2007; Poot et al. 2010). Many seabirds also migrate along the coastline, and the wind farm is situated within this migration route. Coastal breeding birds, such as cormorants or lesser black-backed gulls, make foraging trips out to sea and the wind farm is well within reach of these birds. And last but not least, large numbers of land birds migrate twice a year from their wintering to their breeding grounds and vice versa over the North Sea. This includes migration to and from Great Britain as well as migration to and from southern Europe and Scandinavia. A large number of species is concerned, including for instance passerines such as skylark, meadow pipit, starling and redwing, but also herons, raptors, shorebirds, ducks, geese and swans.
Report at hand
This report is the final report of the effect study of the OWEZ wind farm on flight patterns of birds. It includes all results obtained in this study and a full analysis of the data. Results are interpreted in the light of collision risks, barrier effects and disturbance.