Positive five year review of accompanying ecological research at alpha ventus offshore test site
Today the Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Transport Ministry together with the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) presented the results of five years of accompanying ecological research on the offshore test site alpha ventus. Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry Ursula Heinen-Esser stated: "Offshore wind power is an essential part of our future energy mix. Research shows that the nature-friendly and environmentally sound expansion of offshore wind power in Germany is possible." Parallel to this expansion, the Federal Government is conducting research into the impacts on nature and habitats in the North Sea.
The Government has developed the 2013 Spatial Offshore Grid Plan (Bundesfachplan Offshore Nordsee), the first maritime spatial plan worldwide, and the security framework concept, which will be made available to wind farm developers and the public at the beginning of next year. These documents will supplement the ecological requirements for offshore wind farms. Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Transport Ministry Enak Ferlemann said: "This plan provides investors with transparency and reliable framework conditions, which are the basic requirements needed to make further progress in the field of offshore wind power. The Spatial Offshore Grid Plan, security framework concept and newly gained ecological knowledge once again confirm Germany's pioneering role in this field."
The alpha ventus test site allows research to be carried out on the impacts on the marine environment. Results up to now are multi-faceted: seabed habitats in the vicinity of the wind farm have benefited from the elimination of bottom trawl fishing and the number of fish species has increased. However, there is still a need for further research regarding the impacts on migratory birds. As a planning approval and management authority for offshore projects, the BSH under the expert supervision of the Federal Transport Ministry will work on more targeted requirements for the nature-friendly and environmentally sound expansion of offshore wind power based on an improved scientific foundation.
Over the next two days, during an international expert conference, over 250 participants from academia, industry and environment associations from 11 different countries will discuss the research outcomes.