ACCIONA Energy announced today the formalization of its U.S. and Canada Avian and Bat Protection Plan. The company's internal plan sets guidelines that evaluate and address the impact that wind farm development has on wildlife and aims to help conserve the 1007 species of migratory birds currently protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The plan, two years in the making, outlines ACCIONA’s responsible development policies for avoiding and minimizing avian and bat mortality rates and aid in employing methods to reduce those rates while maintaining renewable energy production.
As projects are built, ACCIONA Energy will abide by the commitments outlined in the plan, ensuring that the utmost level of responsibility to the environment is being met. Before construction on a project even begins, ACCIONA Energy will carefully evaluate development sites to ensure that construction will not affect existing wildlife populations. The company will also conduct post-construction monitoring studies to make certain that existing projects are not interfering with wildlife in the area.
'At ACCIONA Energy, we are dedicated to maintaining the highest level of environmental responsibility while increasing renewable energy production,' said Blayne Gunderman, Eastern U.S. Environmental Manager of ACCIONA Energy North America. Added Kevin Martin, ACCIONA’s Western U.S. Environmental Manager: 'By following the guidelines outlined in the plan, we can enforce our corporate commitment to execute all of our projects with an emphasis on environmental accountability and responsible development.”
The ACCIONA Energy U.S. and Canada Avian and Bat Protection Plan will help guide management decisions that extend beyond development and into all phases of construction, operations, re-powering, and decommissioning. Additionally, this living document will establish a baseline for identifying the need for future actions that may be required to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts to avian and bat species.
“The proper location of a wind energy facility is critical to help protect wildlife and their habitats,” said Paul Schmidt, Assistant Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Migratory Bird Programs. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service applauds ACCIONA Energy for seeking to minimize impacts to birds, bats and other wildlife.”
Though formal wind turbine guidelines have yet to be approved by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior or by the Canadian Minister of Environment and Minister of Natural Resources, ACCIONA Energy has enforced the proposed guidelines internally, touting their value and extreme importance to the future of wildlife and the renewable energy industry. As science, policy, technology, and corporate philosophy reach higher and more informed levels or standards, this plan will be updated accordingly to ensure that the newest data, technology and management methods are being utilized by the company.