The Habitat-Creation Potential of Offshore Wind Farms

Journal Article

Title: The Habitat-Creation Potential of Offshore Wind Farms
Publication Date:
February 26, 2009
Journal: Offshore Wind Energy: Part One
Volume: 12
Issue: 2
Pages: 203-212
Publisher: Wiley

Document Access

Website: External Link


Elliott, M.; Wilson, J. (2009). The Habitat-Creation Potential of Offshore Wind Farms. Offshore Wind Energy: Part One, 12(2), 203-212.

Offshore wind farms are the subject of environmental impact assessments in which potential adverse effects are identified and quantified. Those impacts will then require to be mitigated through appropriate design, construction and operation methods. Where environmental impacts cannot be mitigated, operators would be required to compensate the environment or its users for any actual or potential damage. The present study shows that the placement of offshore wind turbines gives the potential for habitat creation, which may thus be regarded as compensation for habitat lost. Using current design criteria and construction methods, the analysis here indicates that the net amount of habitat created by the most common design of offshore wind turbine, the monopile, is up to 2.5 times the amount of area lost through the placement, thus providing a net gain even though the gained habitat may be of a different character to the one that lost. Hence, the study raises important issues for marine nature conservation managers. The study also provides suggestions for further work in order to increase the empirical evidence for the value of mitigation, compensation and habitat creation.

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