Urgent action is needed to tackle global climate change. Renewable energy can help minimise carbon emissions and the other environmental challenges associated with generating electricity from coal. And healthy, resilient environments are important buffers against the intense storms, flooding and other predicted effects of climate change.

This presents us with a challenge – for all its environmental benefits, poorly planned renewable energy facilities can have negative environmental impacts. They can cause loss or transformation of habitat, and may cause the direct mortality of birds and bats. We need renewable energy, but it must be planned and developed in harmony with nature.

BirdLife South Africa provides rationale, expert opinion and evidence-based guidance (see more below) and advice to stakeholders including government, renewable energy developers and operators, environmental assessment practitioners and bird specialists to help minimise the impact of renewable energy on birds and their habitats.

We engage with all stages of the development of renewable energy facilities, from policy, planning and site screening, through to the operational phase

BirdLife South Africa’s work on birds and renewable energy is funded by Investec Corporate and Institutional Banking.

Location is key to minimize negative effects of renewable energy on the environment.

BirdLife South Africa encourages early consultation to ensure any potential impacts are identified and addressed right at the beginning of the project cycle. Particular care should be taken if development is proposed in or near Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas or other areas important for birds (for example much of the Lesotho-Drakensberg Highlands). BirdLife South Africa and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)’s Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map can be used to get an early indication of the potential sensitivity of an area’s birds to wind energy development. Once a potential site has been selected for further consideration, our guidelines for assessing and monitoring the impacts of wind or solar energy help ensure that the nature and scope of data collection is adequate to inform decisions.

Would you like to learn more, or do you have information to share?

Sign up to our Birds and Renewable Energy Update mailing list and we will send you updates on the latest news, events, reports, guidelines and scientific papers. Please let us know if you have any reports or papers you would like us to share.

For more information please contact Samantha Ralston-Paton at BirdLife South Africa Phone: +27 (0)83 673 3948
Email: energy@birdlife.org.za

We also encourage you to visit the Energy Task Force’s website. The Task Force has been established though resolutions of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) and promotes the use of existing guidance and tools.

BirdLife South Africa’s work on birds and renewable energy is funded by Investec Corporate and Institutional Banking

For more information please contact Samantha Ralston-Paton at BirdLife South Africa Phone: +27 (0)83 673 3948
Email: energy@birdlife.org.za