Poland advances renewable energy while protecting marine life
Speeding up offshore wind farm approvals by applying cutting-edge noise and animal modelling to improve the accuracy of EIAs
Poland has ambitious plans to advance renewable energy to battle climate change. These efforts include the installation of offshore wind farms along the Polish coast. The country got its first ever offshore wind farm approved thanks to cutting-edge noise, habitat and collision risk modelling that fostered the protection of harbour porpoises and birds.
Getting the green light for Poland’s offshore wind projects
Poland has ambitious plans to advance the building of offshore wind farms. However, developers must overcome unique environmental challenges before getting the nod of approval from authorities to proceed with their projects.
Polish waters are home to the endangered and strictly protected Baltic harbour porpoise, which can be harmed by construction noise. Moreover, local seabirds can be displaced, and migratory birds can collide with the rotating turbines blades. These impacts are extremely difficult to predict, resulting in much uncertainty about the environmental footprint of offshore wind farms. This can lead to slow regulatory approval resulting in severe project delays.
Cutting-edge noise and animal modelling to improve the accuracy of EIAs
Since 2012, DHI has used innovative approaches to help many Polish developers increase the accuracy of their environmental investigations. These are the highlights:
- Numerical underwater noise modelling using DHI’s Underwater Acoustic Simulator (UAS) proved that by applying noise mitigation measures such as bubble curtains, impacts on porpoises could be kept at acceptable levels
- Dynamic habitat modelling enabled extrapolations of the baseline investigations concerning the distribution of seabirds and increased the reliability of the impact assessment
- Collison risk modelling provided the accurate number of seabirds and migrating birds at risk of collision with the turbines in operation. This information fed into the final design of the individual turbines to minimise collisions.
SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Polish wind farm developers need to ensure marine life and seabirds are protected throughout each project. © Shutterstock/Jan Zoetekouw
- Reduced uncertainty of project impacts – thanks to high-quality baseline studies and EIAs
- Selection of the best value-for-money approach for noise mitigation
- Project approval for the first ever – and subsequent – offshore wind farm installation in Polish waters
‘MEWO has been successfully cooperating with DHI for over eight years in the implementation of offshore wind farm projects in Poland. DHI’s reliable analyses and reports on marine mammals, seabirds, migratory birds and underwater noise modelling has supported us with the best solutions. Their professional team considers the latest methods used around the world, provides guaranteed performance and communicates with us seamlessly every step of the way. We look forward to our continued cooperation.’
Michał Sander, Project Manager
Deputy Director of Operations MEWO. S.A. (Subsea Solutions)
About our client
MEWO. S.A. (Subsea Solutions) is the largest privately owned and independent marine survey/ geoscience/ environmental and subsea engineering company in Poland providing services and solutions to the marine energy sectors in the Baltic, Mediterranean and Southern North Seas regarding oil & gas, renewables, subsea telecoms and research.
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