Aiming towards good practice in the planning and approval of offshore wind farms suggestions are provided for the amendment of environmental impact assessment (EIA), an effective marine spatial planning and the establishment of marine compensation measure. The investigation is focused on the situation in Germany as a frontrunner in ecological research on offshore wind energy. After 10 years of research in Germany, it is timely to offer a synopsis of the results especially regarding the successful investigations of mitigation measures. The results are based on published data collected in Germany over the last 10 years, as well as international research. The outcomes of the research were validated by interviewing experts using the Delphi method.
Key findings for good practice in impact assessment, mitigation and compensation:
- EIAs should focus on decision-relevant subjects of protection (i.e. specific bird species and harbour porpoises).
- There is a strong necessity for thresholds for the approval process.
- Exclusion of OWFs in hotspots of sensitive species.
- Application of state-of-the-art mitigation measures particularly against underwater noise to avoid damages of the hearing of porpoises.
- The introduction of marine compensation measures is strongly suggested.