September 26, 2023 – The “7th Conference on Wind energy and Wildlife impacts – CWW 2023” concluded last week in Šibenik, Croatia, focusing on finding sustainable solutions for wind farm development. Organized by Croatian companies OIKON and Supernatural, and held under the auspices of the European Parliament and the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, this highly significant conference brought together over 600 participants from around the world to address the responsible development of renewable energy sources with a strong emphasis on nature and environmental protection.
The CWW Conference, renowned globally in the field of renewable energy, served as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experiences aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of wind power development, including its effects on birds, bats, large carnivores, and ecosystems as a whole. The insights and expertise shared at the conference will play a pivotal role in advancing responsible renewable energy development not only in Croatia and the surrounding region but also across the globe. This endeavour aligns with the ambitious goals of increasing the share of renewable energy sources and expanding the construction of wind power plants.
Distinguished scientists, including Dr. Johann Köppel (Technical University Berlin/Uppsala University), Dr. Roel May (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research), Dr. Christian C. Voigt (Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Germany), and Dr. Taber Allison (Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute, USA), delivered keynote lectures during the conference. The event featured two panel discussions, six workshops, 108 oral presentations, and 90 poster presentations, covering a wide range of topics related to the environment, from entire ecosystems and biodiversity to specific impacts on birds, bats, large carnivores, marine species, habitats, and human aspects.
The conference culminated in vital conclusions aimed at enhancing the sustainable development of wind farms while safeguarding nature and the environment. Discussions encompassed regulatory matters, cutting-edge technological solutions, and the future of wind energy utilization. Notably, the conference showcased the growing role of artificial intelligence in the sector, assisting scientists in species identification and the assessment of wind farm impacts on the environment and nature. The scientific program of the conference was developed by an international scientific advisory committee comprising 16 members, with David Tidhar, a biodiversity expert from the USA, serving as the committee’s chairperson.
Dalibor Hatić, chairman of the organizing committee and Director of Oikon Ltd. – Institute of Applied Ecology, expressed pride in the conference’s success, stating: “This seventh edition of the conference, held in Croatia, gathered the largest number of participants to date and has been the most successful. The fact that this global conference is hosted in Croatia underscores the quality of our work in nature protection and the promotion of renewable energy sources, which are inherently environmental projects. It also highlights the level of nature protection efforts undertaken in Croatia, which experts and scientists worldwide dedicated to these crucial issues have noticed.“
Mirna Mazija, conference co-chair and Director of Supernatural, emphasized the significance of the CWW 2023 conference, saying: “When we discuss sustainable wind farm development in the context of nature and environmental protection, the success of CWW 2023 serves as a powerful catalyst for continued excellence in this field. It provides a strong impetus for the Republic of Croatia to effectively implement the energy transition and fulfil its climate change commitments while preserving a healthy environment and biodiversity.“
“As wind energy expands globally, we must ensure that the state of the science of wind energy and biodiversity impacts is relevant for new markets. Knowledge exchange and international collaboration are critical to address the negative impacts of the industry and foster science-based solutions. CWW is the largest international conference on the topic and the 7th conference achieved not only the highest attendance of any CWW to date, but also brought together the most diverse group of participants in terms of countries represented and stakeholders present, including prominent nature conservation organizations such as Birdlife International and Bat Conservation International, and six development finance institutions including IFC, EBRD, ADB, KfW, DFC and FMO. Thank you to all of the contributors who made the 7th conference a truly memorable event,” said David Tidhar, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee.
As part of the conference program, participants had the opportunity to visit nearby wind farms Danilo and Jelinak, the Falconry Center Dubrava, Krka National Park, the Šibenik archipelago and the city of Šibenik.
The next CWW conference will take place in France in 2025.