PIAFF&CO: Project launched to monitor birds and bats around offshore wind farms

Offshore wind environmental monitoring and impact studies are an important component of the research conducted at the SEM-REV offshore test site. The PIAFF&CO project will improve knowledge of flying fauna - birds and bats - in the vicinity of offshore wind farms. The project is run by Centrale Nantes in conjunction with the Centre d'Écologie et des Sciences de la Conservation du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, the St Nazaire offshore wind farm and BW Ideol.

on March 22, 2022


Environmental impact analysis is an essential phase in MRE (Marine Renewable Energy) project development. Impact definition requires sound knowledge of the environment and of the effects of the installation of these structures at sea, as well as expertise in the methods and means of measurement at sea. Relatively little research has been done to date on the interactions between flying fauna and floating wind turbines in French territorial waters.

Collect data to understand the interactions of marine birds, migratory landbirds and bats (chiropteras) with offshore wind turbines.

The ADEME-funded PIAFF&CO project (for Pressions et Interactions en Atlantique de l'éolien oFFshore: Chiroptères et Oiseaux), aims to collect field data via different monitoring methods, in order to improve our knowledge of the marine environment. The project will use unique feedback from the first Floatgen offshore wind turbine in France (© BW Ideol) and in situ data from the SEM-REV test site. It will help define the species potentially impacted and the interactions with the wind turbine.

Goélands en repos sur la plateforme Crédit Photo BW IDEOL
Gulls resting on the platform. Photo Credit: BW IDEOL

The Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm - the first French offshore wind farm currently under construction - will also feed into this project with data from its environmental studies conducted as part of the initial state (2013 - 2015), the baseline state (2019 - 2020), monitoring during the construction phase (2021 - 2022) and the operation phase (from 2023).

The objectives and monitoring tools put in place

Cormoran huppé en alimentation autour du site Crédit photo  Thomas Latreuille – BW IDEOL

Crested cormorant feeding around the site
Photo credit: Thomas Latreuille - BW IDEOL
The PIAFF&CO project has several scientific and technical objectives, including:
  • Determine the presence of chiropteran and bird species in the maritime sector, corresponding to Mor Braz
  • Study the interaction (use of the superstructure, collisions, avoidance, etc.) between avifauna and a floating offshore wind turbine, the Floatgen demonstrator (© BW IDEOL), installed in April 2018 on the SEM-REV site and for which tests are planned until 2023.
  • Adapt monitoring protocols and methodologies for the offshore environment, such as certain acoustic sensors.
  • Make recommendations on monitoring methodology and provide feedback on the protocols and devices used in this project.
  • Acquire knowledge via the autopsies carried out, on the mortality caused by interactions with a wind turbine.
The PIAFF&CO research project will provide new environmental data that will contribute to the development of the offshore wind energy sector and therefore to the production of renewable marine energy in an environmentally friendly manner.
Published on March 28, 2022 Updated on October 19, 2023