Offshore and coastal wind power is one of the fastest growing industries in many areas, especially those with shallow coastal regions due to the preferable generation conditions available in the regions. As with any expanding industry, there are concerns regarding the potential environmental effects which may be caused by the installation of the offshore wind turbines and their associated infrastructure, including substations and subsea cables. These include the potential impacts on the biological, physical and human environments. This review discusses in detail the potential impacts arising from offshore wind farm construction, and how these may be quantified and addressed through the use of conceptual models. It concludes that while not environmentally benign, the environmental impacts are minor and can be mitigated through good siting practices. In addition, it suggests that there are opportunities for environmental benefits through habitat creation and conservation protection areas. © 2010 by the authors; MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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