Follow-up Research Master Plan Offshore Wind Energy (VUM)
Some uncertainties remain about the effects of wind turbine farms on the North Sea ecosystem. That is why a study is being conducted to find answers to important questions about the construction and operation of wind farms.
In 2011, the Follow-up Research for the Offshore Wind Master Plan (VUM) project was initiated as a follow-up to the Offshore Wind Research Shortlist. The VUM study was conducted by a consortium led by Imares (now Wageningen Marine Research) and TNO. The studies were supervised in substantive terms by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (now the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate ), Rijkswaterstaat and the Directorate-General for Spatial Development and Water (now DGWB) of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (now the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management).
The results of the VUM studies have been processed and applied in the decision-making process for offshore wind farms. The results were also used for the 'Framework for Assessing Ecological and Cumulative effects' (KEC) that was announced in the North Sea Draft Policy Document 2016-2021 and published in April 2015. The aim of the framework was to make it clear how cumulative ecological effects should be described. This framework has to be used in decisions in the future about offshore wind energy. In addition to the VUM studies referred to above, studies are also being conducted in this area on the basis of the monitoring programmes for existing farms and farms under construction (MEP obligations incumbent on the wind farm operators). There is also a great deal of research in progress in other countries. A number of new knowledge gaps have been identified in the Framework for Assessing Ecological and Cumulative Effects referred to above, as well as during the completion of the VUM study (see 'Master Plan 2.0'). Further research will therefore begin in the near future.
Ten studies were conducted as part of the VUM programme:
- Noise model for offshore pile-driving
- Assessment instrument for the cumulative effects of underwater noise (SORIANT)
- Effects of noise caused by offshore pile-driving on the hearing of common seals
- Effects of noise caused by pile-driving on the survival of fish larvae
- Effects of noise caused by offshore pile-driving on the hearing and behaviour of harbour porpoises
- Swimming speeds of sea mammals in the North Sea
- Modelling the numbers of birds that collide with offshore wind turbines
- Bat migration over sea
- Effect of wind farms on seabirds
- International harmonisation and cooperation workshop