Predicting the large-scale consequences of offshore wind turbine array development on a North Sea ecosystem
van der Molen, J
Continental Shelf Research
Three models were applied to obtaina first assessment of some of the potential impacts of large-scale operational wind turbine arrays on the marine ecosystem in a well-mixed area in a shelf sea: a biogeochemical model,a wave propagation model and an a coustic energy flux model.The results of the models are discussed separately and together to elucidate the combined effects. Overall,all three models suggested relatively weak environmental changes for the mechanisms included in this study, however these are only a subset of all the potential impacts,and a number of assumptions had to be made. Further work is required to address these assumptions and additional mechanisms. All three models suggested most of the changes with in the wind turbine array,and small changes up to several tens of km outside the array. Within the array, the acoustic model indicated the most concentrated, spatially repetitive changes to the environment,followed by the SWAN wave model,and the biogeochemical model being the most diffuse. Because of the different spatial scales of the response of the three models,the combined results suggested a spectrum of combinations of environmental changes with in the wind turbine array that marine organism smight respond to. The SWAN wave model and the acoustic model suggested a reduction in changes with increasing distance between turbines. The SWAN wave model suggested that the biogeochemical model, because of the in ability of its simple wave model to simulate wave propagation,over-estimated the biogeochemical changes by a factor of 2 or more. The biogeochemical model suggested that the benthic system was more sensitive to the environmental changes than the pelagic system. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
The work was carried out as part of the EBAO project (Optimising Array Form for Energy Extraction and Environmental Benefit, No. NE/J004227/1), and was jointly funded by NERC and Defra (Cefas contract C5325). Sonja van Leeuwen constructed the daily riverine loads database from which the runoff data were used in the GETM-ERSEM model. French water quality data were supplied by the Agence de l’eau Loire-Bretagne, Agence de l’eau Seine-Normandie and IFREMER. UK water quality data were processed from raw data provided by the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the National River Flow Archive. The German river loads are based on data from the ARGE Elbe, the Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Ökologie and the Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde. The river load data for the Netherlands were supplied by the DONAR database. The authors gratefully acknowledge the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting) for allowing the use of the ERA-40 and Operational Hindcast data used as atmospheric forcing for the GETM-ERSEM model.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 85, pp. 60 - 72