Waardenburg Ecology and Ecowende develop most extensive ecological programme to date for an offshore wind farm
Tuesday 26 September 2023
Waardenburg Ecology and Ecowende are developing a comprehensive ecological programme for Ecowende’s offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust (west) Wind Farm Site VI with partners including WMR, WaterProof Marine Consultancy & Services B.V. and SEAMARCO. The collaboration will ensure ecology is given a prominent place in the preparation, construction and operation of the first wind farm in the world that will be in harmony with nature.
This announcement was made last week by Waardenburg Ecology and wind farm developer Ecowende (a joint venture between Shell and Eneco) at the 7th Conference on Wind energy and Wildlife impacts (CWW), which was held in Croatia. Waardenburg Ecology, the largest ecological consultancy firm in the Netherlands, will monitor and study the development of biodiversity at the wind farm, on behalf of Ecowende.
Jeroen Kwakkel, marine ecology consultant - project manager at Waardenburg Ecology: “We will draw on more than 45 years’ worth of knowledge about the North Sea system in order to fill as many knowledge gaps as possible together with our partners. We will start by studying the current state of the planning area before looking at the impact on nature during the construction of the wind farm. Starting from 2025, we will monitor how nature develops both above the sea and underwater over the following 20 years. This will be monitored more intensively during the first seven years.”
Hermione van Zutphen, ecology project manager at Ecowende: “Together, we intend to set a new ecological standard for wind farms in the North Sea. This new standard should ensure the Dutch government's ambitions for offshore wind can be achieved with a net positive impact on nature. There needs to be an extensive monitoring and research programme based on the measures we implement at the wind farm so that we can demonstrate effectiveness and fill knowledge gaps. Waardenburg Ecology and its partners know more about this subject than anyone else.”
Insight into what is effective, and what is not
Ecowende will make use of various innovations to boost the positive effects of the offshore wind farm and reduce its negative effects. Waardenburg Ecology and its partners will identify the actual impact of these innovations and large-scale measures in order to gain insight into what is effective and what is not.
Ruben Fijn, Bird Ecology Team Manager at Waardenburg Ecology: “Our bird specialists will assess the effectiveness of different automatic systems for bird radars and long-range cameras, and will perform field observations to enable thorough assessments. We will attach transmitters to passerines in the Netherlands and great black-backed gulls in Norway with the aim of learning more about the behaviour of these birds at sea. We will measure bird collisions and the effect of Ecowende's innovations in order to improve collision avoidance models for birds. In addition, we will study how bats make use of the wind farm when migrating.”
Through an extensive monitoring programme, Waardenburg Ecology will also study the effect of various underwater measures aimed at enhancing nature. Hermione van Zutphen: “Among other things, we will monitor the development of biodiversity on and near the seabed - examples include various nature-inclusive scour-protection designs - and carry out research into biogenic reefs. Such research might lead to new insights into possible ways to help reef-building species, such as sabellaria, develop or increase naturally.”
Research and increased knowledge important for the future
Insight into the effectiveness of the measures will ensure the Ecowende wind farm contributes to the development of future wind farms that have a positive impact on nature, and will enable adjustments to be made where necessary.
Ecowende, Waardenburg Ecology and the partners are keen to share the results of all ecological measures and developments and what they mean for the North Sea system. This will fill gaps in knowledge, which is crucial for striking the right balance between the generation of offshore energy and ecological interests - both nationally and internationally - and therefore for the future of offshore wind energy and its responsible growth.
Waardenburg Ecology is the largest ecological consultancy firm in the Netherlands. It employs more than 155 specialists who work on ecological issues affecting land, sea and air. A fascination with nature led to the creation of Waardenburg Ecology in 1979. Since then, Waardenburg Ecology has carried out objective scientific research into all kinds of animals and plants. This has provided it with a wealth of knowledge and experience, and is still the main focus of Waardenburg Ecology's day-to-day work.
© Image and copy in collaboration with Waardenburg Ecology