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Conference paper, 2009

"How much is enough?" Determining adequate levels of environmental compensation for wind power impacts using equivalency analysis

Cole, Scott


Environmental considerations at wind power developments require avoidance and mitigation of environmental impacts through proper citing, operational constraints, etc. However, some impacts are unavoidable for otherwise socially-beneficial projects. Criteria for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) suggest that compensation be provided for unavoidable or residual impacts on species and/or habitat from wind power development. Current environmental compensation schemes for wind power fail to demonstrate a connection between the expected ecological damage and the ecological gains through restoration. The EU-funded REMEDE project developed quantitative methods known as "equivalency analysis" to assist Member States in implementing EU Directives that require scaling of environmental compensation. This study provides a transparent framework for estimating compensation at wind facilities based on the REMEDE approach. We illustrate the approach with a hypothetical case study involving sea eagle impacts at the Smøla Wind Farm (Norway). Our study assumes measures be will implemented to alleviate future impacts on the eagle population but that an interim loss of resources to the public remains. We illustrate how one could quantify the damage (debit) from sea eagle turbine collisions. A potentially-promising compensatory project that reduces eagle mortality from power line electrocution is suggested to generate the environmental gains (credit), which is quantified using hypothetical data. Pending completion of on-going research, this framework could be applied with actual data to inform future compensation at Smøla. The framework is generalizable to on- and off-shore wind development but requires targeted and thoughtful data collection. Importantly, compensation should not be used disingenuously to justify otherwise environmentally costly projects

Published in

Book title: European Offshore Wind 2009 conference proceedings


Offshore Wind 2009

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Economics

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Economics and Business
Social Sciences

URI (permanent link to this page)