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Protection for Migratory Birds: Wind Parks Take a Break

Small wind park in front of Flevoland in the IJsselmeer

In global first, Dutch wind parks in the North Sea were shut down for four hours on Saturday, May 13, 2023, to allow migratory birds a safe passage. This measure carried out at Borssele and Egmond aan Zee, is part of the commitment of the Dutch government and the involved companies to emphasise ecology and biodiversity in offshore wind parks.

The Minister for Economy and Climate, Rob Jetten, described this measure as an "international premiere". He emphasised the importance of the cooperation of all stakeholders in implementing this measure in a relatively short time and expressed his pride in this initiative.

To provide the birds with a safe passage, the rotation speed of the wind turbines is reduced to a maximum of two rotations per minute during the predicted peak night migration.

A PhD student from the University of Amsterdam developed a bird migration prediction model at the end of 2022, which predicts bird migration two days in advance. The model uses weather data and various bird radars in the North Sea. A group of migratory bird experts also predict the likelihood of a large bird migration two days in advance. This period of two days allows the network operator TenneT to ensure the stability of the high-voltage network if less wind energy is generated due to the shutdown.

Tim van Oijen of Vogelbescherming Nederland emphasised the importance of this measure for bird protection, primarily because of the increasing number of wind parks in the North Sea. He pointed out that temporarily shutting down the turbines during bird migration minimises the impact on the North Sea.

The measure will be officially introduced in the autumn of 2023 and will continuously be improved. Wind parks currently under construction and future wind parks will also participate in the measure.

[1] "Windparken op zee voor het eerst stilgezet om trekvogels te beschermen", Rijksoverheid, retrieved on May 16, 2023, from


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