Short answer: Well-designed wind farms can coexist with whales while generating renewable energy to create a safer climate and protect whales from worsening climate impacts like warmer temperatures and food loss.
“There is not a shred of scientific evidence that whales are affected at all by offshore wind farms.” Dr Mark Diesendorf, University of New South Wales
Long answer: Wind farms have been in operation for over four decades (offshore wind farms for over three decades) and unlike offshore gas and oil, there’s no evidence that wind farms kill whales.
Everything we do in our oceans has an impact, so wind farms must be well designed so that they can coexist with whales, ways to do this include:
- Fully assessing threats for each project
- Choosing the right location and steering clear of critical habitat for threatened and migratory species like the Humpback whale and Southern right whale.
- Implementing best practice, like setting speed limits for boats, increasing monitoring for whales and selecting materials that have lower levels of noise pollution.
The projects we must stop to protect our whales and marine life are the massive offshore gas proposals that would lead to:
- greenhouse gas emissions skyrocketing
- hundred-kilometre-long underwater pipelines cutting through marine habitat
- the risk of big oil spills in our oceans.
If an oil spill occurred at Woodside’s proposed Scarborough and Browse projects off the coast of Western Australia, 54 threatened animal species are at a direct risk of being impacted, including Blue pygmy whales and Humpback whales.
Climate damage, driven by burning fossil fuels like gas is pushing whales to extinction. Warmer temperatures mean less ice cover and food for Humpback and Blue pygmy whales when they migrate to Antarctica in the summer, and uncomfortably hot breeding grounds when they move to Australia's tropical waters in the winter.
Wind farms are so much safer for whales, and generate renewable energy that can displace fossil fuels and protect whales from the impacts of warmer temperatures, acidifying oceans and rising sea levels.