NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Is Bird Conservation a Barrier to Wind Energy?

Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
Conference Name38th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment

Project's location is a major aspect to prevent significant adverse impacts on biodiversity, such as mortality of birds and bats, disturbance of migratory routes, and loss of habitats. The identification of alternatives that presents adequate environmental conditions is essential requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). However, EIA literature features the poor consideration of alternatives. This study presents the application of a methodology is based on criteria defined through a review of literature and the creation of suitability map using GIS tools and multi-criteria decision making. Topics covered by suitability maps include protected areas, habitats of migratory and endangered birds, breeding areas, and wind speed. The Brazilian state of Bahia was the object of study, since it has important birdlife and great wind power installed capacity. The current location of wind farms indicates that the sites selection presumably was based on technical aspects over environmental criteria. However, the results indicate that the birdlife conservation is not a barrier for wind energy expansion, since a scenario of expansion is possible when restrictions that prevents tradeoffs between its conservation are considered. This study aims to contribute towards the improvement of the alternatives sites identification, and of EIA process.

Full TextFull text available from publisher
TagsBrazil; South America; Land-Based Wind; Birds; Eagles; Hawks; Kites; Vultures; 2018; Conference Paper