AquaBiota has since 2006 had various assignments related to wpd’s plans to build a windfarm at Storgrundet, an offshore bank in the southern Bothnian Sea outside Söderhamn in Gävleborg County. The assignments have involved a number of different tasks in the different phases of the project.
In connection with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), we helped to plan and procure environmental surveys, conduct field surveys of fish and bottom living organisms, calculate wave exposure, prepare the basis for consultation, write parts of the EIA that describe the area and its conservation values and the effects on the environment of the planned windfarm and its cable. We conducted supplementary investigations that were requested by authorities during the legal process. In 2010, wpd was granted permission to construct the wind farm and one of the decisive elements was the scientific investigation in which AquaBiota showed that the construction of the windfarm would only have a marginal impact on the herring recruitment in the area. In 2012, AquaBiota started a monitoring program prior to the construction of the wind farm, which was interrupted when wpd paused the construction plans. In 2018 we made new surveys after the wind power plans were re-actualized.
In 2020, AquaBiota conducted new field surveys at Storgrundet since wpd were planning to apply for a new permission to construct a wind park. The operational area has been expanded and new technology will be used, hence a new permission is required. Field surveys were conducted during summer and autumn 2020. The fish community was investigated using eDNA (genetic analyses of water samples) and gillnet. Other communities investigated was benthic infauna, epifauna and flora and environmental toxins. The hydrographic conditions were also investigated.
The application for the construction of the planned windfarm has now been turned in to the Land and Environment Court. The application was announced in autumn 2021, which means the EIA is considered sufficient and the trial can begin.