Yesterday, an artificial reefstructure was installed within the Luchterduinen offshore wind farm, 23 kilometres west of the Dutch port city of IJmuiden. The reef is part of the ‘Rich North Sea’ project that will investigate until 2022 how nature conservation and sustainable energy generation can reinforce one another.
The installation was performed by Van Oord, in cooperation with the North Sea Foundation, the Natuur & Milieu organisation and Eneco, using their installation vessel Ham 602. In an area of 3 hectares, at water depths of around 20 metres, a structure of reef balls and cages containing adult oysters was installed. Waardenburg Consultants, SAS Consultancy, and Wageningen Marine Research will now monitor whether the oysters will produce larvae, leading to the development of a full-scale reef that then attracts all kinds of other species, such as crabs, fish, and seals, making the wind park a veritable nursery for underwater natural features. The partners will investigate the optimum underwater conditions for nature development within offshore wind farms.
The demonstration project will contribute to providing a blueprint for underwater nature restoration at all offshore wind farms which can then be applied when constructing new installations. The cooperating partners aim in this way to ensure that the growth of offshore wind farms goes hand in hand with nature enhancement. (source Van Oord)