Our principle: preserve and protect
In the Iberdrola group, we manage aspects related to biodiversity through four priority lines of action: protect, study, and preserve, raise awareness and inform, and collaborate with stakeholders.
Iberdrola has an action plan for managing aspects related to biodiversity while following the basic action principles defined in the Biodiversity Policy. This plan implements four priority lines of action:
- Protect biodiversity, applying a mitigation hierarchy (avoid, mitigate, reduce and offset) throughout the life cycle (construction, operation and dismantling) of infrastructure projects, making sustainable use of natural resources and encouraging value creation.
- Understand and conserve biodiversity, by applying the principle of precaution through studies that analyze the relationship between facilities and their surroundings to avoid or minimize their impact and foster conservation.
- Collaborate with Stakeholders, considering their needs and expectations in matters of biodiversity in order to integrate them into action plans and participate in research projects.
- A commitment to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and communicate internally and externally about the impact of our biodiversity conservation activities and actions.
Iberdrola has been working on biodiversity programs and plans on an ongoing basis for many years, following the above lines of action. In June 2017, and as an example of this commitment to the conservation of natural environments, Iberdrola received an award from the General Directorate for the Environment of the Extremadura Regional Council for its conservation work in the Monfragüe National Park.
|Biodiversity Action Plan|
|Prevent, reduce and offset impact||Direct protection of fauna.|
|Direct plant protection and management.|
|Restore and offset habitats and species.|
|Prevention of impact on soil.|
|Prevent of impact on water.|
|Understanding and conservation of the environment.|
|Collaboration with stakeholders to improve biodiversity.|
|Raising awareness and communication.|
The following are examples of the group's ongoing projects:
PROJECT / TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS OBJECTIVES Power lines Within the ALETEO project — the purpose of which is to reduce the risk of harm to birdlife from pylons in protection zones — more than 24,000 pylons have been rectified since the project began. To reduce the risk of harm to birdlife. 154 environmental actions rolled out before and during construction of substations and power lines (restoration and preparation of land, protection of vegetation, bird life and landscape, control of invasive species, training on forest fires and dumping, etc.). To reduce the impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Implementation of 1,574 preventive actions for the protection of wildlife (adaptation and adjustments to pylons). To reduce the impact on fauna. FLASH Project, which consists of a thorough analysis of all electricity cables from a helicopter equipped with the latest technology that includes a Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) camera that sweeps the landscape with a laser. The results are combined with images taken during the flight to obtain precise information about sites (data and georeferenced images) of distances to any nearby object or landmark and the plant life existing in the vicinity. In 2019, 29,400 km were reviewed. To reduce the impact on flora. Management of 34.4 km2 of vegetation to reduce the risk of fire at our facilities. Iberdrola is working with Madrid City Council and the Madrid Regional Community on the "Plan Madrid" which includes the compacting of 16 substations and the dismantling of 125 kilometers of overhead high-tension cables. Thanks to this project 355,000 square meters of surface area have been freed up to create new garden areas, social and sports facilities, homes and offices. The work undertaken in the agreement was 99.87% complete by 2019. Virtually finished. To reduce the risk of harm to birdlife. Hydroelectric power plants Limnological control of the most eutrophicated reservoirs in the Duero and Tajo basins (pollutant deposits caused by agents unrelated to Iberdrola that travel along these rivers before they flow into the reservoirs). Prevent potential impacts on fauna located downstream of reservoirs. Ensure turbined waters contain the minimum amounts of dissolved oxygen essential for aquatic life. Avoid levels that are harmful to ichthyofauna. Execution of pollution prevention actions, improvement of the environment and recovery/restoration of the natural environment surrounding power plants such as: ecological conditioning of flows, environmental adaptation of channels and the restoration of the environment (demolishing of buildings and recovery of terrain). To reduce the impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Feasibility studies for ichthyofauna passage devices. To reduce impact and avoid harmful conditions for ichthyofauna. Substitution of auxiliary service transformers for dry transformers (they were previously of oil contaminated with PCB). To prevent pollution and possible harm to flora and fauna. Maintenance and upgrading of refuse holding systems to prevent environmental contamination. To prevent pollution and possible harm to flora and fauna. Thermal power plants Collaboration between the Escombreras Combined Cycle and the "El Valle" Woodland Fauna Recovery Centre for the recovery of birds such as the Bittern and the lesser kestrel, returning them to their natural habitat once their physical and/or psychological defects have been treated. To reduce the impact on wildlife. Conducting of a study to assess the ecological status of the Majaceite River in the area of the Arcos de la Frontera Combined Cycle Plant, using biological, hydro-morphological and physical-chemical indicators. Knowledge of the area to take the appropiate actions with respect to the habitat. Activities to prevent pollution, improve the environment and recover/restore nature. Prevention of pollution and environmental recovery. Maintain controls on the larval monitoring of mussels in circulating water quarries to minimize the addition of sodium hypochlorite to seawater. Improvement in the dispensing process, maintaining the level of residual chlorine in the cooling water at 0.3 ppm. Reduction of invasive species. Fundación Iberdrola Projects Collaboration agreement between Fundación Iberdrola España and the Environmental and Rural Office of Extremadura Council on a project to improve the habitat of the little bustard and other grassland birds in the International Tajo Reserve. Research and conservation and reduction of impact on birdlife. Study by the University of Salamanca by agreement with the Fundación Iberdrola on the Lesser Kestrel around Iberdrola facilities. Research on the Lesser Kestrel. Of special importance is the collaboration with the Spanish Ornithological Society, SEO BirdLife, on the MIGRA project, devoted to the study of the movements of migratory birds. At the end of 2018 the project had 946 birds tagged from 32 different species. Research or conservation and reduction of the impact on avifauna. Collaboration agreement with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Bearded Vulture to study the effects of climate change on it and other alpine birds. Preservation of the Bearded Vulture. Study of bird accident rates with Electricity Power Lines: application of predictive modelling through Salamanca University. Study based on distribution grid characteristics, the surroundings and bird incidents with these structures. Research on avifauna. Corporate Volunteering Projects Day of the Tree in Bilbao. Since 2008 there has been an annual celebration in the Basque Country of the day for Environmental Volunteering and Extension of the "Iberdrola Forest", together with the Lurgaia Foundation and the Gorabide disabled Association. Preservation and management of the natural heritage. Environmental workshops during international volunteer day. Protection and preservation of biodiversity. Workshop in the Basque Country to commemorate "Biodiversity Day" on Ereaga Beach (Algorta, Getxo) with tasks to clean up small amounts of waste and micro-plastics. Protection of fauna and flora.
One of the highlights of the Iberdrola Spain Foundation's actions is its collaboration in the MIGRA project with SEO/BirdLife, whose aim is to study the migratory movements of birds present in Spain, funding this program from the 2011 season to the present day.
ScottishPower Renewables (SPR), at the wind farms in the United Kingdom, uses the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy as a reference for both the development of new wind projects as well as existing ones, with a special concern for improving the environment (flora and fauna) of the facilities, and establishes Habitat Management Plans (HMPs) as a tool for each installation. This allows SPR to compensate or mitigate for any habitat lost through the construction of a site, and often provides additional enhancement. This requires SPR to work together with statutory bodies, including Scottish Natural Heritage, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Forestry Commission, to ensure that management complements national biodiversity aims and follows best conservation practice. These HMPs have different aims and targets depending on the characteristics and types of habitat, which is why a specific plan is produced for each affected area.
In addition the following specific actions are worthy of note:
PROJECT / TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS OBJECTIVES Wind farms Continuation of the Habitat Management Plan for wind farms. The Habitat management plan, basically monitoring of birds and of reforested areas and management actions, such as restoration, elimination of invasive species, vegetation management through grazing, etc. To recover and improve land affected by construction activities. Surveillance of species like the Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus), the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) and the Northern Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus). Wildlife protection: Northern Harrier, Black Grouse, Warty Newt.
Networks Actions to protect birdlife in environmental surveillance projects, for example: in Glen Falloch after detecting Golden Eagle nests, the construction of access roads to pylons was postponed until after the eagle-breeding season. Still underway, but thus far successful. Bird life protection: Golden Eagle. Burrowing badger exclusion program for adaptation in areas outside the works. In collaboration with and under license from SNH. The result was a success and the work did not affect the badger. Animal protection: Badger. Protection of the habitat of the Northern Harrier in the works of the access roads. Licensing and specific training for eagle protection to contractors. Bird protection: Northern Harrier. Measures to protect reptiles (Adder) from access road construction, including removal of vegetation and in-situ redesign of tracks by installing special SNH-approved mitigation underneath the stone to allow water to flow under the road. Animal protection: adder. Plan to restore heathland and sow more than 6500 m2 with a mixture of heath seeds. A hibernation shelter was also installed. The site will be monitored monthly to ensure that the species are becoming established and to eliminate any ruderal vegetation from reaching the site. Restoration of adder habitats. Foundation projects Sussex Wildlife trust in the environmental and educational project "Wild Side of the Track". Sustainable improvements to habitats. Volunteering Planting 520 m of hedges rich in native species on the land of the Route V grantors at Curling Farm, Lilliesleaf on the Scottish borders. These plants capture the equivalent of 3,120 kg of carbon over their lifetime which, according to carbon confidence, will offset burning 1,338 liters of diesel. In addition to the carbon offset, the seven species of trees and shrubs chosen for the hedge will benefit pollinators throughout the year and provide shelter for adult birds/small mammals. This new habitat will go some way to compensating for the accumulated interference with species and habitats during the work on Route V.
In the regions where Avangrid subsidiaries operate, areas with high biological diversity (whether protected or not) are avoided in new overhead power line projects. Moreover, Iberdrola is working with the Audubon Society and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation in order to provide nesting areas away from power lines, e.g. for the Osprey.
The Renewables Business continues to implement the Avian and Bat Protection Program (ABPP), which is aligned with the new biodiversity guidelines and recommendations for wind energy facilities from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, an organisation with which it actively cooperates.
Also, extensive studies of birds and bats at the wind farms has been done, and scientific research work supported. Every year, activities for the conservation of biodiversity related directly or indirectly to wind farms are developed, as required by the laws and regulations of the United States. The actions carried out include studies on the effects on wildlife of wind power plants, always validated by expert biologists, studies on birds and bats in wind farms environments, in which NGOs are involved, and monthly monitoring of indicators associated with biodiversity.
In addition, the following specific actions are worthy of note:
PROJECT / TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS OBJECTIVES Power lines Actions to protect fauna during projects, such as training contractors and surveillance of works to protect the common box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina). Animal protection. Adaptation of power lines and relocation of osprey nests. To minimize impact on the osprey in its nesting and reproduction processes. In addition to the measurements of the wooden poles, steel excluders have been installed to prevent harm to birds nesting on the newly installed steel transmission structures on Line 871/872. In addition, it has been designed to protect the panoramic view of the Adirondack Park where the structures are located. Wind farms Continuation of birdlife tracking and monitoring with 58 programs at 48 wind farms. Carrying out livestock management and carcass removal tasks. Protection of birds and birds of prey. Carrying out preventive measures in order to reduce the impact on birdlife and chiropterans. Testing of the DTBird raptor detection/deterrent system, This new system combines AI with high-precision optical technology to identify protected bird species such as Golden Eagles, determine their flight paths and send an alert to shut down specific turbines in the event of a collision risk.
PROJECT / TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS OBJECTIVES Power Lines Compensatory reforestation, programs for the rescue and relocation of wildlife, monitoring of wild fauna, limnological studies, programs for the recovery of degraded areas, use of protected lines, etc. Ensure the success of programs to recover and offset impact on Permanent Conservation Areas (APPs) and degraded areas (quarries, tips). Meliponiculture Project in the Itamboatá Valley developed by COELBA since 2012. It consists of increasing meliponiculture in the Itamboatá Valley through the creation and rational management of the Uruçu bee (Melipona Scutellaris), providing an opportunity to improve family income and the quality of life of small producers, in a sustainable manner. Uruçu bee (Melipona Scutellaris). Uruçu bee conservation. Hydroelectric power plants Reforestation of affected areas. Ensure the success of programs to recover and offset impact on Permanent Conservation Areas (APPs) and degraded areas (quarries, tips). Continuation of environmental biodiversity conservation programs depending on the impacts of the operation: monitoring of fauna (ichthyofauna, herpetofauna, avifauna, mammalian fauna, entomofauna, etc.); monitoring of flora in reforested areas; water quality control; monitoring of erosive processes, etc. Ensure the success of programs to recover and offset impact on Permanent Conservation Areas (APPs) and degraded areas (quarries, tips). Flyways Brasil in association with SAVE Brasil (Birdlife International), seeks to ensure the conservation of birds and their habitats, contributing to the preservation of species at hemispherical level. Reduce the risk of harm to birdlife. Monitoring and environmental education program on the jaguar. We are working with researchers from the Iguazú National Park and the community around the Park in the interactive construction of the Jaguar Permeability Map. Animal conservation in the region: panthers. The "Eco Citizen: building a sustainable future" project gives free public courses on bioconstruction. Reduce impact on local biodiversity.
As additional information it should be noted that Neoenergia has several environmental programs in the communities where it operates, developing partnerships with management units of Natural Parks, Ecological Stations, Experimental Reserves, among other conservation units and communities, seeking the recovery and preservation of the environment, education and environmental development of the local population. The environmental programs are based on monitoring and reporting, which records the changes that affect biodiversity and environmental benefits generated.
PROJECT / TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS OBJECTIVES Thermal power plants Development of the Garrapatas Estuary Rescue Project, with support from the Iberdrola Mexico Foundation. Improve the habitat, fostering indigenous species, and raise social awareness of the area's rich biodiversity. Development of the Feline Support Project in the Altamira region, with support from the Iberdrola Mexico Foundation. Reforestation and protection of wild flora program at the power plants of Topolobampo II (39 ha), Topolobampo III (35.10 ha), El Carmen (35.37 ha), and Escobedo (36.41 ha). Improve the habitat and reduce impact on flora. Wild fauna protection program at the power plants of Topolobampo II, Topolobampo III, El Carmen, and Escobedo. Improve the habitat and reduce impact on fauna. Measuring physical-chemical parameters of the marine biota of the marine ecosystem adjacent to the plant in Baja California. Monitoring and protecting the adjacent marine ecosystem. Activities to protect soil and water. Improved watertightness of dangerous chemical storage facilities. Soil and water contamination protection. Wind farms Birdlife and Chiropter Tracking Program. Ensure the success of reforesting work. Reforestation of an approximate area of 25 ha in the surroundings of the La Venta III power line. To improve the habitat. Photovoltaic plants Rescue and relocation of at least 166 wild animals during the construction of the photovoltaic plants in Santiago and Hermosillo. Protection of wildlife.
For further information about biodiversity protection measures undertaken by the Iberdrola group, please see Iberdrola and Biodiversity, which covers the management focus, strategies, and the progress of actions instigated on by the different businesses and regions where the company operates. You can also take a look at Iberdrola's Biodiversity Report.