ENGIE: How to protect biodiversity when installing offshore wind turbines?

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The world’s first offshore wind farm was inaugurated in 1991 in Denmark. It is a valuable source of experience for experts, scientists and energy companies who combine their efforts and accumulate knowledge on biodiversity in order to minimize the impact of offshore wind farms on marine fauna and flora. So, are offshore wind power and biodiversity compatible? We explain in detail.

What is the difference between fixed and floating wind turbines?

Offshore wind farms can be installed in two ways: on foundations fixed to the ocean floor or on floating wind turbines anchored to the seabed. While some fixed wind farms are over 30 years old, floating wind farms are still in their infancy. After

What are the impacts of offshore wind farms on biodiversity?

1

The reef effect. Submerged offshore structures attract a population of marine species that inhabit rocky environments (mussels, anemones, sea urchins, crabs, fish, etc.) and their predators. Consequently, the biodiversity of the ecosystem is enhanced.

2


The reserve effect on fish. The reduction or absence of fishing around offshore wind farms creates reserves for species. The resulting proliferation is characterized by a higher concentration of marine species and their predators (birds, marine mammals, fish).

The increase in biomass and marine biodiversity has a positive effect on the seabed.



3

The impact on seabirds. Migratory birds are most at risk of collision, compared to sedentary birds, which become accustomed to wind farms. However, this impact is relatively small, as birds learn to avoid areas around wind farms.


4


The impact on marine mammals. Marine mammals flee the loud noise produced during the construction phase of the foundations of fixed-bottom wind turbines. This disturbance is reduced by the installation of temporary bubble walls.



5

Vibrations, noise and electromagnetic waves. These disturbances are produced by the cables and have little or no effect on marine species.



ENGIE’s commitment to biodiversity

State-of-the-art measures ENGIE has taken to manage the risks faced by offshore wind farms include seabed surveys and monitoring, aerial surveillance and GPS tracking. The Group is a signatory to the UN Charter of Sustainable Ocean Principles, which requires economic players to commit to protecting the seas and oceans. We have also adopted the “avoid, reduce and offset” principle, which has been at the heart of our Act4nature commitments since 2018. We assess the potential impacts of our activities in order to avoid, then reduce or, as a last resort, offset any residual impact.
The studies we conduct help us improve our knowledge of both ecosystems and species (see video below).

Watch this video to learn more about this experience:

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“The French EFGL floating project will be the first floating wind farm installed in a Marine Protected Area, the Golfe du Lion Natural Park, with which we have worked closely and transparently to develop an extensive environmental management and monitoring plan. . local company Ecocean, we have also developed an innovative and environmentally friendly system to see if we can accelerate the natural reef effect and use floating wind farms to even improve local biodiversity. We are working to improve our knowledge of bird behavior and monitoring, and we are testing the reliability of new deterrent technology. Finally, by implementing Impressed Cathodic Current Protection (ICCP) anodes, which do not have ever been tested on a floating wind farm, we will avoid any release of metals into the water column. These examples show our strong desire to work closely with local actors involved in the protection of the local environment as a whole , in a holistic approach, and not only to protect, but also to assess, if there is a way to improve it through our projects, including through innovative solutions.”
Grzegorz Gorski, COO of Ocean Winds

Disclaimer

Engie S.A. published this content on September 08, 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on September 09, 2022 15:49:03 UTC.

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