4C Offshore Empowering Intelligence

Waardenburg Ecology and Ecowende collaborate on groundbreaking ecological program

4C Offshore | Chloe Emanuel
By: Chloe Emanuel 26/09/2023 Ecowende

In a significant step toward promoting sustainable energy generation, Waardenburg Ecology and Ecowende have unveiled an ambitious ecological program for the Hollandse Kust (west) Wind Farm Site VI. This collaborative effort, which includes partners such as WMR, WaterProof Marine Consultancy & Services B.V., and SEAMARCO, marks a pioneering initiative that aims to harmonize offshore wind energy with the environment.
Announced at the 7th Conference on Wind Energy and Wildlife Impacts (CWW) in Croatia, this groundbreaking partnership showcases a shared commitment to prioritizing ecology throughout the planning, construction, and operation phases of the world's first nature-friendly wind farm.
Waardenburg Ecology, renowned as the largest ecological consultancy firm in the Netherlands, will spearhead the monitoring and study of biodiversity development at the wind farm on behalf of Ecowende, a joint venture between Shell and Eneco.
Jeroen Kwakkel, marine ecology consultant and project manager at Waardenburg Ecology, stated, "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, added, "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."
Innovations for Positive Impact
Ecowende plans to harness various innovations to enhance the positive impact of the offshore wind farm while minimizing its negative effects. Waardenburg Ecology and its collaborators will evaluate the actual impact of these innovations and large-scale measures to discern their effectiveness.
Ruben Fijn, Bird Ecology Team Manager at Waardenburg Ecology, explained, "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."
Furthermore, Waardenburg Ecology will conduct a comprehensive monitoring program to study the effect of various underwater measures aimed at enhancing marine ecosystems.
Hermione van Zutphen noted, "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."
Building a Sustainable Future
Insights into the effectiveness of these measures will pave the way for the Ecowende wind farm to become a blueprint for future offshore wind projects that positively impact nature. This approach ensures adjustments can be made as needed to strike the right balance between renewable energy generation and ecological interests, both nationally and internationally.
Ecowende, Waardenburg Ecology, and their partners are committed to sharing the results of their ecological measures and developments, contributing to the collective knowledge crucial for the responsible growth of offshore wind energy.
Ecowende and Hollandse Kust (west)
Ecowende, a joint venture between Shell and Eneco, will construct the Hollandse Kust (west) wind farm approximately 53 kilometers off the Dutch coast at IJmuiden. With an installed capacity of around 760 MW, Ecowende aims to generate enough renewable energy to meet approximately 3% of the current electricity demand in the Netherlands. The wind farm is scheduled to begin operations in 2026. For more information about Ecowende, including details about innovations and ecological measures, please visit their website.

For more information about offshore wind farm projects across the globe, click here.


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