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Wind power: the first results of the impact on the marine ecosystem – Economy

“Floating structures impact the water column and can influence up to ten kilometers around. It is important to have a good understanding of the marine ecosystem and therefore to conduct studies so that all the players around a wind project can perceive the challenges and adapt ”. This recommendation, Pierre-Yves Hardy, economist and marine ecologist at WWF, made it heard in the ears of researchers and industrialists, during the recent International Floating Wind Meetings (Fowt), in Saint-Malo.

Research engineer Yves Perignon was also there. He is in charge of SEM-REV, the multi-technology sea trial site of Centrale Nantes, off Le Croisic (44). About twenty researchers from his team associated with CNRS carried out a series of environmental impact studies, from 2018 to 2021, around the Floatgen floating wind turbine. This demonstrator produces electricity: 6 GWh in 2019 and 6.8 GWh in 2020. It is positioned 22 km from the coast on a float 36 m sideways and 9.5 m high. It is anchored 33 m deep and a 23 km buried cable connects it to the terrestrial network.

“No environmental incident or pollution”

The first environmental monitoring report has just been made public, others will follow because studies will continue until 2023, the scheduled date for the dismantling of the floating wind turbine. What does he conclude? “To date, no strong effect or impact has been observed on the marine environment among all the areas studied. In addition, no environmental incident or pollution was caused, whether in the construction, operation or maintenance phases of the demonstrator ”.

Scientists have carried out their investigations well beyond regulatory requirements. They carried out underwater acoustic measurements, electromagnetic fields, took temperature readings, observed marine mammals, benthic communities, the colonization of species on the infrastructure, avifauna and bats, etc. They concluded, at this stage, “to low or even negligible impacts”, apart from the deaths observed of a dozen birds, for various reasons and for the most part not yet fully elucidated, between 2018 and 2020.

Feed knowledge as objectively as possible

“The field of studies is complex and requires that we call on other experts, other tools to deepen our research, to confirm trends and intuitions that we have”, mean Yves Perignon and Marine Reynaud, another engineer. of research. “Our objective, as a public body free from any commercial interest, is to feed knowledge as objectively as possible so that it serves, in public debate, public authorities, civil society and industrial developers. », Adds the person in charge of SEM-REV.

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