A policy panel held in the European Parliament has slammed offshore wind policy as an environmental failure. It highlighted the European Commission and wind industry claims of an existing dialogue and of a ‘happy co-existence’ as wholly unsupported, based on evidence from fishing industry figures from Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal and Sweden.
The Offshore Wind Projects – towards a new environmental failure? was held at the European Parliament by MEPs François-Xavier Bellamy (FR-EPP group) and Ana Miranda (ES – G/EFA), bringing together independent scientists, representatives of local authorities, European Commission, the wind energy industry and members of Swedish, German, Dutch, Belgian, French, Spanish and Portuguese fishing sectors.
The scientific panel illustrated the contradiction between the new and accelerated targets of offshore wind capacity and the existing knowledge of its impacts on marine biodiversity, notably pollution and effects on the patterns of wind and currents and on feed and the ecosystems. In addition, current research indicates which data should be known, but are not studied in a sufficiently precise and transparent manner, including acoustic emissions, electromagnetic fields and cumulative effects.
Christophe Sueur, mayor of Saint-Pierre d’Oléron, explained how, on cue from defined capacity targets for offshore wind, national authorities pushing through offshore wind projects while completely disregarding fisheries and local communities.
‘In 2020, the behaviour of the wind industry and of public authorities towards fisheries was exclusionary,’ the conference was told. ‘Today it is predatory.’
A panel on food security demonstrated both the dependency of the EU population on imported seafood and the need for a balance between energy sovereignty and food self-sufficiency.
François-Xavier Bellamy and Ana Miranda concluded that the advocacy of the European fisheries must urgently continue while other participants demand that clear guarantees and safeguards be adopted for the European fisheries faced with the foreseen exclusivity of offshore wind capacity.
‘Impact studies on offshore wind projects remain too influenced by public authorities and by the wind industry and cannot be considered as independent and objective,’ they conclude.
‘Fisheries have determined that offshore wind projects are exclusionary and are asking for the same long-term perspectives and guarantees awarded to the offshore wind industry. Is offshore wind capacity an environmental failure? Yes, the answer is yes!’