Wind farms are often planned offshore where wind conditions are favourable and the visual impact is less important. Wind farms have both positive and negative effects on the marine environment. Negative effects include bird collisions, underwater sounds and electromagnetic fields, whilst positive effects constitute functioning as artificial reef and acting as no-take zones for fish, with possible spill-over effects. This paper presents a spatially explicit framework to analyze effects of wind farms on the marine environment and aims to evaluate how wind farms can contribute to protection of the marine environment through strategic and economically viable location choices. The functioning and the applicability of the model are demonstrated in a numerical example for the Dutch exclusive economic zone. We find that the careful spatial planning of wind farms is a key factor for profitability and environmental protection, and that, if carefully planned, the environment can benefit from offshore wind farms.
- metapopulation dynamics