Spatial and temporal analysis of cumulative environmental effects of offshore wind farms in the North Sea basin

Laura Florentina Gușatu*, Stefano Menegon, Daniel Depellegrin, Christian Zuidema, André Faaij, Claudia Yamu

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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The North Sea basin is one of the busiest maritime areas globally with a considerable number of anthropogenic pressures impacting the functioning of the marine ecosystem. Due to growing EU ambitions for the deployment of large offshore wind farm projects (OWF), as part of the 2050 renewable energy roadmap, there is a key need for a holistic understanding of OWF potential impacts on the marine ecosystem. We propose a holistic Cumulative Effect Assessment methodology, applied using a geo-spatial open-source software, to assess impacts of OWF related pressures on selected seabed habitats, fish, seabird and mammal species. We take into account pressures specific to the three OWF development phases, spanning 1999–2050, for the entire North Sea basin. Our results underline 2022 as the peak year of cumulative impacts for the approved OWFs, followed by a considerable increase in potential impacts of the planned 212GWs, by 2050. The spatio-temporal analysis of the OWF environmental impacts presents the shift between highly impacted areas over the studied timeline and distinguishes between concentrated areas of high impacts (S–E of UK) and dispersed areas of high impacts (Germany). Our results can inform decision-makers and the OWF industry in a joint effort to mitigate the environmental impacts of future large OWF developments.

Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftScientific Reports
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - dec-2021

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