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Pioneering study finds seabirds avoid offshore wind turbines much more than previously predicted

The Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP) has released findings from the world’s most comprehensive investigation into seabird behavior and collision risk around offshore wind farms.

The study is the first of its kind employing a multi-sensor monitoring system, combining human observer-based tracking with a system that automatically recorded seabird movements, at a working offshore wind farm. Radars were also used to record data 24 hours a day for two years.

Analysis revealed that collision risk of seabirds was less than half of what would be expected based on current understanding. During the study, seabirds were observed to exhibit avoidance behavior and change their flight path to avoid the turbines.

John Robertson, Energy & Infrastructure senior manager at Crown Estate Scotland, said, “This is an important step forward in understanding the potential impacts of offshore wind farms on the marine environment. Scotland’s seas hold great potential for clean energy – this study will help ensure we realise that potential based on scientific research and long-term sustainability.”  

The collaborative study was commissioned by Crown Estate Scotland, offshore wind developers, The Crown Estate and Marine Scotland, and was managed by the Carbon Trust.


More information and a copy of the report can be viewed here.

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