The project aims to identify potential conflict zones between development of wind power generation and biodiversity protection and to prepare recommendations for minimizing the potential conflicts. The elaborated WPCZ tool (Wind Power Conflict Zoning Tool) will assist spatial planning specialists, wind power plant developers and environmental impact evaluators to identify the most sustainable sitting of wind power plants based on integrated biodiversity protection concerns within energy development schemes. Thus, the project results will help to ensure better biodiversity protection, lower wind power plant development costs and easier environmental impact assessment process.
Summary of project results
Despite wind power plants (WPPs) attractiveness due to low CO2 emissions, WPPs have a direct negative impact on biodiversity. Three types of direct impact can be distinguished: direct displacement (when WPPs are installed in wintering or resting sites of birds), direct collision (when migrating or soaring birds are killed or injured by turbine blades), and decompression (when rotating blades cause air pressure changes which lead to the burst of blood vessels in the lungs of animals, in particular bats). Intensity of conflicts between wind power plants and biodiversity is predicted to increase, especially in western Lithuania, which is an important area for migration of birds and bats. Identification of potential conflict zones in the context of the development of WPPs and protection of biodiversity and preparation of recommendations to minimize conflict intensity are important steps towards management of existing and avoidance of future conflicts. While implementing the project conflict zones which are vulnerable to the development of wind power facilities in the sense biodiversity protection were identified: All areas that are important in view of protection of target animal groups as well as areas suitable for the development of wind power plants were identified in western Lithuania. A digital spatial database was built with as many layers as many criteria were named as significant to conflict intensity during performed analysis. Different information sources were used to achieve the purpose: special and detailed plans, data of cadasters and registries, as well as other digital and non-digital information. During this activity, non-digital information was digitized. A spatial information analysis model was created. A model for automated analysis of spatial information for the purpose of visualization of conflict zones in a particular territory and calculation of the total area of such zones in a territory and intensity of conflict in them was created. After finalization of the project the model might be used for assessment of conflict intensities outside western Lithuania. In the territories selected according to the established criteria, the monitoring of target animals was performed with a view to collecting information necessary for verification of the created model. The verification of the model for analysis of spatial information ensured that assessment carried out with the help of the model reflects the real situation.
Summary of bilateral results
Project promoter, together with project partners, defined the criteria and their proxy values, developed a three-dimensional model for data interpretation, prepared recommendations how to ensure the lowest possible effects of the development of wind power plants on the target animal groups and, accordingly, to ensure the goals of biodiversity protection.