E-Connection undertakes and has executed several research projects into the effect of wind energy on the environment.
To enable the decision process on permits for several wind energy projects extensive research has been undertaken to bird wildlife, bird movements and the risk of collisions with wind turbines or disruption by wind turbines.
E-Connection supported financially the National Research programme on effects caused by wind turbines on bird wildlife that was executed between 1992 and 2000 by several specialised institutes under contracts from the Netherlands Ministry of Spatial Planning and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fishery.
E-Connection also researches bird wildlife at existing wind farms. In cooperation with Energieonderzoek Centrum Nederland (ECN) E-Connection contributed to the development of the WT-Bird detection system.
This system can instantly detect and register bird collisions with wind turbines. This is especially important for those wind turbine sites where collision victims cannot be found and recovered. E.g. offshore wind farms,
but also in on shore areas with many predators.
Since 2000 E-Connection contributes financially to the research of sick and dead birds and sea mammals that are found at the North Sea beaches. By comparing the results of the early years with the results during and after commissioning of offshore wind farms information is collected on the risks for birds and other species caused by offshore wind turbines.
As part of the development of wind farms in the Schelde estuarium E-Connection studied the effect of wind turbine noise on resting birds and sea mammals. The noise of a wind farm was amplified by loud speakers near sites where birds and sea mammals rested. Although the sound was amplified and although it was switched on and off erratically the wildlife resting at a distance of 250 meters showed no signs of disturbance.
The study gives factual information on the impact of wind turbine related noise on the wildlife before the wind turbines are erected.
In cooperation with several planning specialists E-Connection has undertaken several studies to fit wind turbines in the existing landscape. Projects include land art with wind turbines. Examples are the colouring of the towers to visually strengthen the placing of the wind turbines of Windpark De Bjirmen at Sexbierum,
The Netherlands; and siting of the wind turbines parallel to the IJsselmeerdijk north of Lelystad.
Under contract from E-Connection the first research into the possible effect of wind turbines on radar was executed in 1988. Today this report still presents the basic guidelines for siting of wind turbines within radar ranges.
Mussel seed will clog to and grow on the support structures of offshore wind turbines. In cooperation with Van der Stee and with financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fishery, E-Connection has undertaken research into the technical possibilities of commercially growing and collecting of mussel seed at offshore wind farms. The thus collected mussel seed can be brought to other sites to grow into mussels for consumption.
By sea farming and collecting mussel seed at offshore wind farms the collecting of mussel seed from the protected Wadden Sea area can be reduced significantly. Thereby reducing the environmental impact on an internationally important wetland.