Development of wind energy and territories important to biodiversity (VENBIS)
Summary of project results
According to the National Energy Independence Strategy, Lithuania is aiming to reach the target of no less than 23 % of renewable energy in final energy consumption, including no less than 20 % of renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2020. In order to reach this goal, in 2020 Lithuania will have installed wind energy (WE) power plants of 500 MW capacity. At the moment, the development of WE, particularly in the western part of Lithuania, often leads to the conflicts with territories, important to the protection of biodiversity. Project objectives were: to identify the most valuable/sensitive areas for biodiversity and potential conflict areas for the wind energy (WE) development; to develop measures for protection of such territories and conflict management in the field of WE development and to prepare recommendations for conflicts management of WE development in the sensitive biodiversity areas on local and national level. Seeking to decrease the risk of the WE development on the biodiversity the project partners identified the most important areas for birds and bats. A dozen of experienced ornithologists performed observations in the most perspective areas for WE development all over the country. The project did not cover Baltic Sea and Curonian spit. The research focused on the big conglomerations of birds, including migrating, breeding and wintering periods, as well as feeding sites. In parallel the scientists were seeking for the migration corridors of birds of prey as well as bats, as the information was very limited in this field. A special attention was paid to the Special Protected Areas, in particular designated in the agricultural landscape. A lot of new information about the breeding, feeding and migrating areas of birds and bats was collected. In the field research of bats, a new technology was applied – with the help of special detector with a software more than 7100 records about distribution of bats all over the country were collected. The field research also gave very valuable information about abundance and distribution of other bat species. The project activities also involved mapping of the most sensitive areas for birds and bats. This tool shall prevent the conflict situations between WE sector and environment. Based on the research in the already functioning WE power plant parks, the scientists also prepared recommendations, how to decrease the impact of WE development for the biodiversity, in particular for birds and bats.
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