Naturalis will monitor natuur inclusive wind park "Noordzeker"

June 12th, 2024
Windmolens op de Noordzee

Naturalis Biodiversity Center will research and monitor how wind parks can contribute to biodiversity in the North Sea,  with more detail than ever before. This is made possible by newly developed techniques for species identification and detection.

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Large-Scale Park
with a Small Ecological Footprint

Noordzeker, an initiative by pension fund ABP, pension investor APG, and wind farm developer SSE Renewables, has been granted permission to build a new wind farm in the North Sea with a capacity of approximately 2 GW. This is enough to green around 8% of the current Dutch electricity demand. The wind farm will be located 62 kilometers off the Dutch coast near IJmuiden. Noordzeker aims to provide large-scale sustainable energy at an attractive price, with a minimal ecological footprint and a positive impact on biodiversity.

to biodiversity

To achieve these goals, Naturalis Biodiversity Center is a partner of Noordzeker. Naturalis will research how such parks contribute to biodiversity in the North Sea. Noordzeker will introduce a series of measures, such as artificial reefs, shutting down wind turbines during periods of high bird activity, and removing marine litter with autonomous vessels.


New Perspective
on Biodiversity

Naturalis aims to map the state of nature throughout the Netherlands, including the North Sea. Traditionally, such research is conducted with a few species and at a low frequency, but thanks to modern techniques like digital species recognition and DNA research, it is now possible to get a complete picture of biodiversity for the first time. "We will now do this for the North Sea as well," said sector director of science Maaike van de Kamp-Romijn.


Weather stations
for biodiversity

Willem Renema

Willem Renema

Research group leader

“How are we going to do this? With everything, actually,” says Prof. Dr. Willem Renema. “We will build something akin to weather stations, but for biodiversity.” Cameras, microphones, soil samples, DNA analyses, and echo recordings of the water: by combining all these techniques, we can create a comprehensive picture of what lives there and how the underwater environment is changing. Using autonomous measuring devices, we can create a detailed time series, allowing us to better investigate the impact of climate change on the North Sea. The traditional approach with a handful of indicator species is no longer sufficient in the rapidly changing North Sea landscape,” Renema says.

(Hi-rez version of the illustration)

Alle technieken in beeld

the Bar

“Together with Naturalis, we want to raise the ecological bar for the development, construction, and management of wind farms in the North Sea” sais Harmen van Wijnen, chairman of ABP. Naturalis is very pleased with this initiative. “The partners in Noordzeker have really gone out on a limb by focusing so much on biodiversity,” says Van de Kamp-Romijn. “It is great that this is now being rewarded.”

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