Wind Energy and Wildlife ImpactsTowards an Ecosystem Approach to Assess the Impacts of Marine Renewable Energy
Since the beginning of the 2000’, the French government ambition was to have an offshore wind production formed 40% of the renewable electricity in 2030. Three calls tenders of Offshore Wind Farms (OWFs) construction have been pronounced since 2011. However, no offshore wind farm (OWF) had been constructed at the end of 2017 due to long administrative procedures and numerous appeals in justice, at French and European levels. Nevertheless, several studies have been enterprised to identify the environmental conditions and ecosystem functioning in selected sites before OWF implantations. However, these studies are generally focused on the conservation of some species or groups of species, and there is no holistic study on the effects of the construction and operation of OWF on an ecosystem taken as a whole. In 2017, a complete and integrated view of the ecosystem of two future OWF sites of the eastern English Channel (Courseulles-sur-Mer and Dieppe-Le Tréport) was developed to model the marine ecosystems before OWF implementation and to simulate reef effects due to new spatial occupation of maritime territory. Results contribute to a better knowledge of the impacts of the OWFs on the functioning of marine ecosystems. They also allow to define recommendations for environmental managers and industry in terms of monitoring the effects of marine renewable energy (MRE), not only locally but also on other sites, at national and European levels.