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Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2012

Month Degree Awarded

September

Keywords

Offshore Wind Energy, Environmental Impacts, Barrier Effects, Habitat Disruption, Noise Emissions, Fixed Offshore Support Structures, Floating Offshore Support Structures

Abstract

As has been the case for onshore wind systems, the environmental effects of offshore wind farms are expected to play an important part of the development of future large-scale wind energy systems. This paper presents a detailed review of the status of, and recent developments in, research on the environmental impacts of fixed and floating offshore wind turbine systems. The primary information that has been reviewed has come from European sources where there are a significant number of offshore installations, but some work on this subject has been carried out recently in the United States. Information, from an extensive review, is presented on the environmental impacts of fixed and floating offshore wind turbines on benthic organisms, fish, marine mammals, avian species and bats. The environmental impacts of fixed and floating systems are anticipated to vary due to multiple parameters that need to be taken into account when identifying environmental impacts. Additionally, there are variations in the impact throughout the lifecycle of the offshore wind turbines.

The primary focus for this paper is on the environmental impacts through the scope of barrier and habitat impacts in addition to the anticipated avian and bat fatalities. A noise propagation model is used to determine the extent of effects due to the installation of fixed and floating support structures using piling installation methods. Finally, a summary of progress in all the major environmental impact areas is given along with recommendations for future research.

First Advisor

Jon G McGowan

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