BirdLife: The Magazine September 2017 - Page 26

GOING SOUTH THE POWER TO PROTECT How new techniques and an international Task Force are helping make renewable energy projects more bird-friendly than ever before Ian Evenden M igrating birds get a lot of interference from human activity, and it’s unfortunate that some of it comes from our attempts to be more environmentally friendly. The killing of birds by wind turbines and other clean energy equipment may sound like a canard trotted out by those who oppose the proliferation of renewable generation, but the truth is that some birds, especially birds of prey, can find themselves in danger as they pass our installations. Associated Press figures have the number of birds killed by turbines in the United States alone at half a million a year, and bats are equally at risk, as the spinning blades — the tips of which can be travelling at almost 200 mph — can cause barotrauma, disorientation from changes in air pressure. It’s not just turbines that are at fault, however: in Sudan, thousands of Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, an Endangered species, were electrocuted by a power line 26 Wind turbine, Lorraine, France. Photo Ppictures/Shutterstock 0 ASSOCIATED PRESS HAVE THE NUMBER OF BIRDS KILLED BY TURBINES IN THE USA ALONE AT HALF A MILLION A YEAR as they tried to use it as a perch. The line was turned off in 2014 after a successful campaign involving BirdLife Partners in the region. Often, the problem is in the location of energy infrastructure. A badly planned instalment can result in collisions, displace birds from preferred habitats, or block migratory routes. Power out- ages caused by birds are bad for business, and are of course unpopular among local commu- nities. At a smaller level, turbines and powerlines can damage individual sites that are important for a species, or break them into fragments mak- ing it difficult for large flocks to stay together. Some countries’ planning laws require bat and bird assessments as part of an application for new energy developments, but this isn’t the case in all parts of the world. These problems were recognised at the 11 th meeting of the United Nations’ Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in 2014, with the adoption of a BIRDLIFE • SEPTEMBER 2017 resolution that convened “a multi-stakeholder Task Force on Reconciling Selected Energy Sec- tor Developments with Migratory Species Con- servation.” Known as the Energy Task Force, this group supports the implementation of good practice guidelines, makes recommendations, and develops tools and guidance to avoid neg- ative effects on migratory species from energy sector developments. The Task Force currently spans Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and eventually plans to go global. “The strength of the Task Force is its diversity”, says Task Force Coordinator, BirdLife’s Edward Perry. “The Task Force provides a plat- form where environment and energy minis- tries, conservation organisations, international financial institutions, and the energy sector are able to collaborate to identify, share and scale up pragmatic solutions for sustainable energy development.” “It’s an international problem, so as an interna- tional organisation, BirdLife is really well placed to tackle the problem”, says Katja Garson, from BirdLife’s Global Policy Team. “Our global net- work of Partners allows us to work across entire flyways to reduce the cumulative impacts of energy instalments on vultures and other migra- to '6&r&&G2( Ю( FR&W7BB6VW7BvFV7W&RFBv@GW&&W2FBfRGfW'6R7B&&G02F6FRFVvg&gVW&&R7V6W0B"֖w&F&WFW>( 62G&2Ɩ66V"v&66V6Rff6W"B&&DƖfR@V&W"bFRF6f&6R( &&DƖfR2V@4UDT$U"#r( "$$DĔdPvW&RBF'V@vFf&Ӣ67&VV6@b&&DƖf^( 26&r&&@6V6FfGrFFRvFWfVr7FF27V62&&@6V6FfG2FBVFVFg&V2F&PfFVB( ХFRf'7B6V6FfG2vW&RFWfVVBf 66FBBVvB'FR%5"&&DƖfRFRT7V'6WVVFǒV&W"bFW"&&DƖfP'FW'2&VBFRv&BfRFWfVVB6Ц"FF26VFr'Vv&6WFg&6B&VBv&rvFG2F'FW'2&&DƖfR26FWfVVBFR6&p&&B6V6FfGrF6fW&r6WFW&WW&RFR֖FFRV7BB'Fg&6vW&RvBf&2fR&VV'VB6V6FfP6F27F26&RFVF֖֗6R6ЦƗ62F266VFRW6r'6W'fW'2&F B6W&2FFWFV7B6֖r&&G2@7vF6rFRGW&&W2fb2FW&6( @FV6VRv2( 6WFFvFVN( FR&WfVFb&&BVV7G&7WF26&VFRF6f&6R2rBvF&V6ЦVFF2FBvW"ƖW2&R'W&VB&V@vFfƖvBFfW'FW'2"FfVB6FBFW&R0w&VFW"F7F6R&WGvVVFR6&W2BЧFrFB6VBV'F&&BW&6rFV( 4UBDtDTN( ХU4U2$D"@4U$2D5DEU$$U22$$E0$4vW&RvVFvR26rFRF6f&6P7FVFW2&W6V&6BFRW6vRbf"ЦFB&7F6W2&WGvVVvV6W2v&pFv&BFR6Rv2v֖vBBFW"Чv6R6V6FRBvRFW&R27FV6v&F&RFRG2W7FV6R27FWFP&vBF&V7Ff"FR&FV7Fb&&G22vPGFVBFG&6f&FRvvRvVW&FR@F7G&'WFRVV7G&6G#