Respecting the ecosystem

Wind farms development typically occurs in rural areas where wind resource is abundant and the operation of wind farms is compatible with current land use. No loss of livelihood or economic losses are associated with the developments. Only a small percentage of the land is affected by permanent constructions and its change of use is approved by the competent authorities.

Once construction is complete, the actual land taken out of permanent production is less than 1% of the total project area. The primary use of this land is for access roads to the wind turbine locations, a small area for the wind turbine and electrical transformer, and a gravelled pad area for a crane to be used in construction and maintenance activities. The total area within a wind farm boundary can vary, depending upon the wind resource characteristics and terrain.

Our commitment to respect the ecosystem also clearly leads us to work towards the world’s objective of reducing biodiversity loss due to human activity, as reflected in our company’s Biodiversity Policy.

“EDPR wants to have an even more active role in the conservation of biodiversity and its promotion.”

EDPR Biodiversity Policy

A small percentage of our sites in operation are inside, partially within or adjacent to protected areas. Those wind farms are all located in Europe. The EMS being implemented in those areas requires specific bird and bat monitoring for any wind farm located within a 5 km radius of a protected area for them. Detailed information regarding wind farms and protected areas is available on EDPR’s website

During 2011, in order to offset those impacts that cannot be prevented, EDPR implemented many compensation measures. These measures included partnership with environmental associations aimed at achieving a globally positive biodiversity balance.

Many cooperation agreements have been signed by EDPR throughout Europe and the US such as:

  • In Spain, we started our cooperation with the Natural Heritage Foundation as a result of the agreement signed in 2010;
  • In the US , a partnership with the American Wind Wildlife Institute, where in 2011 we released a general screening tool for prospective wind farms to inform developers about environmental characteristics of the areas at a very high level;
  • In France we signed a 5 years agreement with Indre Nature;
  • In Portugal, our participation in the Wind & Biodiversity Seminar in the University of Aveiro – this seminar aimed to develop new technologies and know-how to devise effective strategies to reconcile wind energy projects and biodiversity conservation.

Other specific initiatives started in 2011 including a multi-year golden eagle telemetry study in the areas around the Elkhorn Valley Wind Farm in Oregon, US. Resident adult golden eagles were captured and fitted with GPS transmitters. The location data, transmitted hourly, will help the company understand golden eagle behaviour and site use, establish the size of an eagles ‘home range’ and movement patterns relative to the wind farm.