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Wednesday, 18 November 2015
17:00 - 18:30 Cumulative impacts on birds
Environmental impacts & social acceptance
In this session presentations on actual effects of onshore and offshore wind turbines on birds will be presented.
- New detection techniques on bird collisions
- Cumulative impacts on different bird species
- Mitigation techniques
Alvaro Camiña Cardenal
International Finance Corporation Biodiversity Specialist, IFC Spain, , Spain
Biographies are supplied directly by presenters at EWEA 2015 and are published here unedited
Alvaro Camina is Msc. Biologist working on impacts of renewable energy (wind & solar) on biodiversity for the last 15 years. Key study areas are the impacts of wind farms on birds and bats. He owns ACRENASL an environmental consultancy doing EIAs and managing mainly post-construction monitoring of operational installations. He also makes scientific research of the collision underlying cause, effect on populations promoting adaptive management according to specific species and site situations. His work also includes management of social aspects related with wind development and landscape protection. They work internationally mainly in Spain, South Africa and Balkan countries. He is also member of the BAWESG (Bird and Wind Energy Study Group) Committee in South Africa. Since 2014 he is Biodiversity Specialist of the International Finance Corporation IFC-World Bank for renewables, supervising projects worldwide according to the Performance Standard 6 (PS6).
Wind energy is still largely blamed because affecting bird and bats populations, being the environmental one of the main barriers to wind farm development. Europe has got a lot of experience since 1995 (2,497 MW installed) to the current 128,751 MW by the end of 2014 in the EU-28. Over this time we have learned from developers, stakeholders and regulatory agencies. A lot of information has been produced in terms of pre or post construction reports. Their peer review had to serve to improve the knowledge for future developments and increase environmental protection. However, up to date little has been done. Nearly 253 bird species have been reported of colliding with wind turbines, with a few of them concentrating most of the fatalities (e.g. Griffon vultures) whilst others widespread distributed worldwide suffer a much lower impact in Europe as compared to USA (Golden Eagle). The ecology of the species, the site weather conditions and the wind farm design have been proved as the main factors related with fatalities. Displacement despite existing, might be limited and even tolerance by birds let them to adapt to new situations. Overall, there is a need to move from individual to population effects, with many species having high replacement rates as passerines as to compensate for losses. Mitigation may require from cumulative impacts assessments for appropriate measures to be taken, even to share and save costs among developers. For many species their home ranges exceeds by large the footprint of single projects making environmental plans useless. Thus, it is a must to understand the importance of a good post-construction monitoring, mainly when changes in environmental conditions occur. We cannot forget the role of the Environmental Agencies, at many instances delaying decisions and also very inflexible during the entire process since the environmental consent to later changes once the facilities are operational. Flexibility to the outcomes of monitoring and a prompt response to new situations is the basis of the Adaptive Management, especially for a dynamic environment and species mobility as occurs with birds. Lastly, a series of technologies for avoidance or mitigation have been developed around the wind energy business but its effectiveness still need from clear and demonstrated results, avoiding unreliable expectancies and increasing costs. Only with the alignment of all sectors involved from developers, governmental agencies, and environmental consultancies to stakeholders reconciling wind energy and wildlife conservation is achievable.