Bureau Waardenburg
Varkensmarkt 9
4101 CK Culemborg
the Netherlands
T: +31 (0) 345 512710
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Stilstandvoorziening windturbines Eemshaven

Shutdown on demand for wind turbines and birds

Together with Altenburg & Wymenga, and on behalf of the Province of Groningen, we investigated ways of limiting the numbers of collisions of migratory birds with wind turbines in Eemshaven.



Wind energy in Eemshaven

Eemshaven, in the North of the Netherlands, houses approximately 90 wind turbines and there are plans to increase this number by another 60. The numbers of bird collisions at wind turbines in Eemshaven are known to be relatively high compared to elsewhere in the Netherlands, this is due to:

  1. the location on the northern tip of the Netherlands, an area passaged by large numbers of migratory birds.
  2. the proximity to the Wadden Sea and its large numbers of waterbirds. 

In total, several thousand birds are thought to collide with the turbines each year. Almost half of these are migratory passerines.

Shutdown on demand for birds

We estimated the reduction in collisions that could be achieved through shutting down turbines during the peak periods of bird migration. In addition, we investigated the effectiveness of the different options for implementing shutdown on demand. 

The most effective way to reduce collisions is through the use of a radar system that monitors the intensity of bird migration through the area. Shutting down turbines for 25 nights reduced the numbers of collisions by ca. 75%.

Shutdown on demand for bats

Bats are also known to fall victim to turbines in Eemshaven. A special shutdown programme for bats could reduce mortality by an estimated 80-90%.

Optimising shutdown on demand for cost reductions

Innogy Windpower Netherlands, who own many of the turbines in Eemshaven, calculated the reduction in energy due to the various shutdown programmes. This showed that a shutdown programme for birds cost more than for bats.

This is so far the only instance of using shutdown on demand for birds in the Netherlands. The information from this project can deliver information on the success and optimisation of shutdown on demand programmes to reduce numbers of birds and limit the reduction in energy.

Shutdown on demand and large birds

Bureau Waardenburg has also carried out a review and produced guidance for the use of shutdown on demand. The report entitled Review and guidance on use of “shutdown-on- demand” for wind turbines to conserve migrating soaring birds in the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway was produced on behalf of BirdLife International (click on link to download).