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Assessing Environmental Effects and Monitoring
Efforts for Offshore and Land-Based Wind Energy Systems

As wind development expands, concern for impacts to wildlife and habitats must be addressed. The availability of scientifically sound environmental practices and data will help wind farm development interests avoid problematic project siting decisions or project choices and can reduce development costs and the risk of failure in the permitting process. The risk of restrictions on wind farm operations or decommissioning due to adverse impacts on protected species or habitats would also be reduced.

The large number of studies conducted in countries with significant wind development can contribute to developing internationally recognized best practices for assessment and proven methodologies to assess cumulative impacts on specific species. This international collaborative is intended to facilitate the sharing of research results and data, tested and proven monitoring methods for wildlife, habitat, and ecosystem processes, and lessons from related studies.  The overall objective is to support the development of wind energy projects worldwide and reduce project costs, by mitigating risk from impacts to wildlife and habitats. International collaboration becomes more important with the expansion of offshore wind deployment, where monitoring procedures and identification of species of greatest concern are in the early stages of development.

The vision of IEA Wind Task 34 is to form the leading international forum to exchange and disseminate up-to-date, robust knowledge on peer-reviewed scientific research and methods for assessing and monitoring the environmental effects of wind energy development. This collaborative will focus on wildlife and their habitats as they relate to wind project development, both on land and offshore.

Banner above. The Greater Prairie Chicken is one of the subjects of environmental studies preceding wind farm development in the United States. Credit: Lance McNew