North Sea Wind Farm Assesses Progress, Monitors Effects on Nature

Due in large part to the stormy weather in the first quarter of 2007, more than 111 million kilowatt hours of electricity have been produced at the Egmond aan Zee Offshore Wind Farm, Netherlands’ First Wind Farm in the North Sea. The wind farm comprises 36 turbines with a 108-megawatt (MW) design capacity.

The Offshore Wind Farm, built on the initiative of the Dutch Government, is managed by NoordzeeWind, a joint venture of Nuon and Shell, which will provide information to the general public from the wind farm’s monitoring program that has charted effects on nature and the environment. — Ecological studies will be conducted using eight underwater microphones pick up the audible signals from porpoises, transmitters have been fitted to twelve seals to monitor their behavior, and soil samples have been taken from 80 locations to establish whether and to what extent life on the sea floor is changing under the influence of the turbines. — Two radar systems have been installed in the wind farm to measure bird movements and chart the behavior of migratory birds. Two wind turbines have been equipped with instruments for technological research, registering in detail the behavior of the turbines themselves. — The wind farm is a shipping-exclusion zone, with the exception of research and maintenance vessels. Because fishing is prohibited in the wind farm, it will be monitored to see if certain species of fish will use the area as a safe haven. The project involved an investment of more than Euro 200 million [US$272 million] and the NoordzeeWind Infocentre, which opened in the Tourist Office in Egmond aan Zee town center, had received more than 20,000 visitors in the days following the wind farm’s inauguration at the beginning of April.

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