Despite its benefits in terms of emissions reductions, offshore wind energy may have an undesirable social and environmental cost for biodiversity. So argues the Court of Auditors of the European Union in a report published this week, entitled Offshore Energy Renewable in the EU . "The deployment of offshore renewable energy raises a number of practical, social and environmental issues that have not yet received sufficient attention," the European high court argues. The catalog of grievances includes: impact on water quality due to the emission of pollutants; loss or degradation of marine habitat; changes in species migration due to changes in electro-magnetic fields; and even underwater collisions and noise.
In their audit, the tribunal members held interviews with staff of the European Commission, the Member States, the European Investment Bank, industry associations, environmental NGOs and experts and examined in particular the cases of Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands.
From an economic point of view, the Court is concerned about the impact of offshore wind on the fishing sector, with a progressive reduction of access to fishing grounds, as well as the strong technological dependence (the manufacture of permanent magnets for wind turbine generators) coming from China.