Energy company’s flight plans for birds

Offshore windfarm's flight plans for birds

OFFSHORE WINDFARM: Trial will assess their threat to birds Photo credit: Pixabay/Tho-Ge

Energy company Vattenfall is testing an infrared camera system to monitor bird collisions with offshore wind turbines at its Hollandse Kust Zuid installation.

“We are still looking for the right technology to understand the dangers,” Jesper Kyed Larsen, a bioscience expert at Vattenfall, said.

“We need to understand the real risk that wind farms pose to birds.”

Collecting evidence of collisions was trickier at sea than on land where you could see what has fallen to the ground, Larsen continued.

“But when a bird hits a wind turbine at sea, it falls into the water and floats away,” he said.

By placing 16 thermal imaging cameras on one of the turbines, we can monitor the conditions under which a collision might occur.”

The cameras will run 24 hours a day below the rotor to see if anything falls, with the videos later analysed using artificial intelligence.

The bioscience expert revealed that when a large number of birds is expected to pass over the windfarm, Vattenfall shuts down the turbines for a few hours when no power can be generated.

“We want to avoid that, as far as possible as other assets have to compensate for the shortfall,” he said.

A “start-stop” procedure is announced two days in advance but it is hard to predict so far ahead the exact route the birds will take and how fast they will cross the windfarm, Larsen explained.

The 12-month trial starts in August in collaboration with Wageningen University.

“This test is just the beginning,” Larsen said. “Once we have more data, we can share our findings with authorities and experts, who can use it to improve their start-stop models.”

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at