Birds not emused by hawkward turbine accidents

The renewable energy transition is posing significant threats to birdlife. That’s according to experts at the UN climate conference in Bonn, Germany, who say wind turbines in particular are causing problems for […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The renewable energy transition is posing significant threats to birdlife.

That’s according to experts at the UN climate conference in Bonn, Germany, who say wind turbines in particular are causing problems for migratory bird species.

Each year, millions of birds fly through Egypt’s Rift Valley and over the Red Sea as they travel between Europe and Africa, some of them covering as many as 10,000 kilometres on their journey.

However, Egypt is developing new, large scale wind energy projects in these areas – more than 290,000 migratory birds reportedly flew through a single wind farm in 2014.

The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency is developing a ‘shutdown-on-demand’ system to protect birds from collisions.

Radar units were set up several kilometres away. When they detected birds and sent a warning, the turbines could be shut down within four minutes.

The researchers say that they are now fine tuning the system, increasing the number of birds that trigger the shutdown from 10 to 50.

Edward Perry from Birdlife International said: “This is one of many measures you can take but the first step should be identifying the best site to reduce the impact in the first place.

“It’s a model that could be applied elsewhere but it is particularly useful in the context of migration.”

Philips Lighting is to roll out energy efficient LED streetlights in the Netherlands that have been designed to be friendly to migrating birds.