E.ON achieves zero bird mortality at a wind farm

E.ON has achieved a new milestone in its environmental policy, in this case as regards its renewable power generation assets. Thanks to the application of latest technologies to detect the migratory flow of birds, the company has managed to reduce mortality rates to zero as they fly through the Barao de Sao Joao wind farm with a 50 MW installed capacity situated in the south of Portugal.

To coincide with the inauguration of the wind farm in 2009, E.ON launched a programme to detect the flyways used by migratory birds. Specifically this wind farm is located in a key flyway for these birds (golden eagles, imperial eagles, Bonelli’s eagle, ospreys, etc.) and as such represents a high risk of causing bird deaths. As a result of this programme, whose main objective is to reduce the environmental impact of the turbines on the regional fauna, an innovative bird monitoring project was developed to cover the migratory period from August to the end of November.

E.ON, together with a company specialising in monitoring systems, have launched new techniques to control flyways. These include the use of latest generation satellite-driven portable radars that facilitate the detection and surveillance of the birds. Thanks to the information and data provided by these systems, programmed shut-downs of the turbines have been established as well as immediate stoppages without the need to notify those in charge of the facility in case there is a danger of collision. The results are clear: zero bird mortality for this wind farm and improved knowledge of the region’s species.