Offshore wind farms | WWF

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© Michael Heiss
Offshore wind farms

The development of the sector in the region is in its infancy: there are currently no offshore wind farms in operation.

The first is due to be completed by 2020 in Italy (Taranto), while several projects are in a pilot phase in France, and Greece is considering potential development of the sector.

EU renewable energy targets agreed in 2014 aim for a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels, and for renewable energy to contribute at least 27% to energy consumption by 2030; the growth of the offshore wind energy sector will undoubtedly continue swiftly.

While the effects of one wind farm on a particular wildlife population may be negligible, the aggregate effects of multiple wind farms through space and time are likely to cause wildlife population declines. The main OWF pressures are from operating turbines which birds collide with, and noise disturbing or damaging marine mammals.

Ecosystem-based Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) should be used to ensure that offshore windfarms are not deployed in areas with habitats, species or ecological processes that are likely to be particularly sensitive to these impacts, whether during construction or operation.
Potential areas suitable for OWF development vs.planned and authorised OWF projects in the Mediterranean Sea
Offshore wind farms

Future locations of OWFs should be decided through processes which take into account conservation objectives, avoiding ecologically valuable areas, and in particular protected areas.

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