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German Offshore Windfarm is Delayed Due to Fears for Local Porpoises

By James Burgess | Mon, 20 August 2012 15:18 | 0

Utility companies have had to delay the construction of a 25 GW windfarm off the coast of Germany due to fears that the noise created by the drills used to secure the turbines to the seabed will kill thousands of porpoises that live in the area.

The plan is to build a windfarm by 2030 that would cover an area eight times the size of New York City, but environmentalists worry that the noise could devastate the population of about 230,000 porpoises which live in the North and Baltic seas. Noise is particularly dangerous to porpoises and dolphins because they use sound to navigate, communicate, and hunt.

Kim Detloff, a marine expert from the German nature group NABU, told Bloomberg that “a porpoise is doomed to die if its hearing is shattered.”

E.ON and RWE are spending millions to try and reduce the noise of the drilling activities. One option being tested by the German utility EWE is to release a constant stream of bubbles around the area of the drilling which will absorb the sound.

The population of porpoises along the coast of Germany is one of the reasons why windfarms are much more expensive to build there than in the UK. It costs about €4.2-€4.4m per MW to develop a German windfarm, compared to €3.7-€4m in the UK.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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