Seminar on the ecological impacts of Offshore wind energy

A meeting on the theme of the use of offshore wind energy and bringing together 45 experts from regional and federal ministries, competent authorities and research institutes was held on April 14, 2005 at the University of Luneburg (Lower Saxony).

Wind farms must actually be built in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), ie in the North Sea and the Baltic outside the 12 nautical mile zone. As such, and at the request of the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU), a research team is working under the leadership of Mr. Schomerus, from the University of Lüneburg, Mr. Runge, from the Oecos Umweltplannung office in Hamburg and Mr. Nehls from the company Bio Consult Schleswig Holstein, on a research project entitled "Strategic review and forecasting of the ecological impact of the use of offshore wind energy in the EEZ".

The Lüneburg seminar was an opportunity to present the first results to a specialist audience. The subject has attracted a lot of attention because hearings concerning the spatial planning of the EEZ will start soon in Hamburg. According to the government's objectives, Offshore wind energy should cover 2025% of energy needs in Germany by 15. This represents a total of 25.000 megawatts, that is to say 5.000 wind turbines which should be installed in the North Sea.

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Representatives of the Federal Office for Hydrography and Maritime Navigation (BSH - Bundesamt fur Hydrographie und Seeschifffahrt) in Hamburg were particularly interested in the research results.

All kinds of legal questions were tackled at first, but also very practical questions such as for example the consequences of wind turbines on the passage of birds or porpoises. The effects on the environment are not always negative: for example, industrial fishing in wind farms will no longer be possible, thus creating effective natural reserves for fish.

One of the central themes addressed was the question of the cumulative effects resulting from the sum of various influences. This assessment cannot be restricted to the national level, it must be carried out in cooperation with the other states of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The various participants agreed that in addition to official procedures, research in particular in the area of ​​cumulative effects should be intensified. The use of wind energy is still in its infancy.

- Henning Zuhlsdorff - University of Lüneburg - tel: +49 4131 78 1007, fax
: +49 4131 78 1097 - email:
Sources: Depeche idw, Press release from the University of Lüneburg
Editor: Nicolas Condette,

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