BfN Calls on Offshore Wind Developers to Contact Agency Early

The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz – BfN) called wind park developers to contact the agency as early as possible regarding offshore projects.

While permits for offshore wind farms including their foundations are issued by the Federal Agency for Maritime Shipping and Hydrography (Bundesamt für Schifffahrt und Hydrographie – BSH), BSH consults BfN regarding nature protection issues. Contrary to a Financial Times Deutschland report in the recent past, BfN made it clear it did not speak out against any of the currently used foundations for nature conservation reasons in general, but assessed each case individually based on the specifc location.

BfN fully supported the government’s plans for an expansion of offshore wind parks, BfN President Prof. Dr. Beate Jessel told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Yet it was necessary to make sure that the permits were in compliance with the relevant laws to avoid legal action.

In the past BfN had expressed concerns with regard to the two main existing types of foundations. One is is a rather large concrete foundation that seals a considerable part of the ground. The other is a steel foundation that has to be hammered into the ground with roughly 15,000 hammer blows. The resulting noise emissions can drive off porpoises, as studies at Germany’s first offshore wind park Alpha Ventus show. With respect to the latter type, Mrs Jessel told FAZ that the noise emission problem might be overcome if the foundation is erected during an “unproblematic time of the year”.

According to industry experts, a third type of foundation, i.e. a foundation that  is drilled into the ground, is technically feasible, but much more expensive, FAZ says.

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23 August 2010, page 12

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