Windfarm Projects at Gabel Al Zayt Bottleneck Area: Efficient Conservation Measures, Minimum Risks and Low Energy Loss
As part of COP14 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is currently taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, a side event was held on November 17 to discuss the implementation of the shutdown on Demand (SOD) method in windfarm projects at Gabel Al-Zayt, a bottleneck area for migratory birds.
Gabel El-Zayt region is part of the second most important flyway for migratory birds worldwide. There are 37 species of birds that pass through Gabel al-Zayt region, which include eagles, falcons and other birds of prey. On the other hand, it is considered the windiest active site in Egypt and one of the most suitable lands for big scale windfarm projects. Thus posing a high risk on migratory birds and may cause bird collision.
Nevertheless, Egypt’s plan to generate 20% of its energy from renewable sources is focused on implementing windfarm projects in ways that mitigate the risks of collision with wind turbines and electrocution on power lines. Therefore, A state-of-the-art bird protection measure is featured that will involve a radar-based shut down on-demand system.
In this event, members of New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) shed a light on the implementation of SOD procedure in Gabel Al-Zayt windfarms and the successful collaboration between NREA, the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) & BirdLife International/UNDP/GEF Migratory Soaring Birds Project (MSB Project), which resulted in an aspiring bird conservation story.
The MSB Project executed great efforts to integrate bird conservation practices within the emerging strategic plans of wind production in this critical region. The multi-organisational team faced many challenges and obstacles during its MSB conservation journey and each challenge was addressed and reflected upon during the event in order to find proper ways to eliminate its threats. Moreover, a training center in Gabel Al-Zayt was established to strengthen the capacity of the national bird monitoring team on renewable energy development and its potential impacts on migratory birds.
It worth noting that organisations funding the windfarm projects in Gabel Al-Zayt, such as the German Development Bank (KfW) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have supported the MSB conservation by testing the protocol for shut-down-on-demand and it is also testing measures such as post-construction monitoring.