Swedish developer Vattenfall will use taller turbines than initially planned at its 1800MW Norfolk Vanguard and 1800MW Norfolk Boreas projects in order to place rotors above the flight paths of birds.
The developer said it raised minimum tip heights at the two projects, which will feature a combined 360 turbines, to 30 metres from 22 following consultations with ornithologists over the last five years.
The project team looked at data from global studies to try and understand how seabirds behave when something different, such as a new wind farm, appears in their environment.
Vattenfall said available research showed most birds fly closer to the surface of the sea, which makes raising rotors an effective way of reducing collisions.
The project team settled on a height of 30 metres after investigating whether there will be enough installation vessels to install turbines at the required hub heights on the market.
“Consultation is a central part of the environmental impact assessment process, and on these projects, we have deployed this to its fullest potential,” said Vattenfall head of consenting Kathy Wood.
“This has prompted us to come up with many, and innovative adaptations to our initial plans, and we are really happy that this engagement from communities and experts has led to sensitive design,” she said.
The density and placement of turbines at the projects, which will be built 45km off Norfolk in eastern England, has also been also tweaked during consenting process for the projects to reduce collision risk.
MacArthur Green ornithologist Mark Trinder said: “Responsible developers employ specialists like us to assess the impact of their developments by mapping seabird behaviour in their planned development area.
“Early site consultation and data gathering meant that the wind farm areas were chosen further offshore, as far away as possible from coastal bird breeding sites.
“All infrastructure projects have some form of impact, but Vattenfall has done everything possible to sensitively design the Norfolk projects.”
Norfolk Vanguard was given consent approval last summer and a final decision at Boreas is due later this year.