Germany‘s plan to wean itself off nuclear power has suffered a submarine setback. Utility companies have had to delay construction of a 25,000 megawatt windfarm off the coast because of fears the noise may kill thousands of porpoises.
E.ON and RWE are spending millions on developing technology to reduce the noise caused by driving turbines into the seabed after environmental groups warned of the threat to porpoises’ hearing. “A porpoise is doomed to die if its hearing is shattered,” Kim Detloff, a marine expert at German nature conservation group NABU, told Bloomberg.
Berlin is planning to build the windfarm – which would cover an area eight times greater than New York city – by 2030.
The installation of noise-reduction technology accounts for 0.5% of the total budget, according to industry specialist Hydrotechnik Lübeck. German utility EWE plans to reduce the noise by creating a stream of bubbles around the drilling area to absorb the sound.