Over 300 participants attended the fourth Conference on Wind Energy and Wildlife Impacts (CWW 2017) in Estoril, Portugal last week. The conference set out to explore advances in the understanding of the impacts of wind energy on wildlife.
Key themes included the appropriateness of different assessment methodology, the dissemination of research from operational wind farms; and discussions on mitigation and compensation. A topic that featured throughout many of these talks was the appropriate use of technological and analytical advances to better understand the impacts that wind farm project have on wildlife.
Natural Power was in strong attendance with representatives attending from our UK and US teams.
Our own Senior Environmental Consultant, Emily Nelson, made a well-received presentation on data collected at Robin Rigg offshore wind farm. Focussing on the results for common guillemot and harbour porpoise, the study revealed that whilst there was a significant reduction in harbour porpoise numbers within the wind farm during construction, numbers returned to pre-construction levels during operation. For guillemot, abundance remained similar across all development phases. Both guillemot and harbour porpoise showed significant, local changes in density across the survey area that appeared to be independent of the presence of the offshore wind farm but was rather linked to changes in benthic and fish communities as a consequence of naturally occurring sandbank movements.
Helena Coelho of BioInsight, Portugal, presented about a collaborative project with Natural Power on experiences gained from the delivery of offshore wind energy in the UK that could inform the environmental assessment of Portuguese projects. Helena’s main message was that there is much to learn from the UK, and other established markets in Europe, when it comes to scoping, survey design, and EIA.
We presented six posters in total, with two in particular provoking interest amongst visitors:
– Our Ecological Analysist, Fiona Caryl, presented some exciting work we have been involved with on bird fatality estimates and the use of modelling to determine peat depth
– Our bird radar specialist, Pawel Plonczkier, presented about the key considerations when using radar for bird studies at wind farm projects
We look forward to the next CWW – hopefully in Scotland for 2018 – watch this space!back to news