The Old Men, the Mills, and the Sea

A couple of fishermen waiting for a catch near the Teeside Wind Farm.
A couple of fishermen waiting for a catch near the Teeside Wind Farm.

2 fisherman on the South Gare breakwater, rendered almost microscopic in the shadow of a trio of colossal turbines that form part of the Teesside Wind Farm, located just off the coast of Coatham Sands near the seaside town of Redcar. I captured this image on a foggy Summer’s day last year, before turning my sights to the nearby derelict steelworks, which I covered briefly in another post.

The site consists of 27 of these White giants that became operational in 2013, and with a large fishing community stationed nearby, it got me wondering if the turbines have a significant impact on the marine life in the area. I found this document which covers the effects of both construction, and operational noise and vibrations. The short answer is… probably. Some species appear to be put off from wind farm sites due to the noise and vibrations, and those remaining were found to have increased stress levels – but these results are only based on a small number of studies, and there’s just too many variables, and not enough data to draw any firm conclusions.

It’s unsurprising really, in science the answers are rarely clear-cut, and offshore wind power is still very much in its infancy. Possibly we’ll have a better idea in 17 years time when several generations of fish have come and gone, and this entire site is due to be decommissioned.