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    The world's first wind farm with laser lighting system for bird protection is on La Palma

    May 19, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras


      The Atlantic Cory's shearwater (Calonectris Diomedea Borealis) is a species of procellariiform bird native to the Atlantic. A nocturnal seabird, it spends most of the year at sea and returns to land to nest. It is a species included in the List of Wild Species under Special Protection Regime (RD 139/2011), and in the Canary Islands Catalog of Protected Species (Law 4/2010). The shearwater is closely linked to the Canarian culture. During the breeding season it is common to hear their high guttural and nasal sounds, which become authentic concerts. These birds form their nests in the high areas of cliffs and caves to avoid the action of predators, mainly cats and rats. The Cory's shearwater chick is fed by both parents for 90 days and after that time is abandoned by its parents, so the young must learn on their own how to fly and find food.

      This R&D project (as Endesa has presented it) is "a world pioneer with application in a renewable energy facility". According to the company, the ultimate goal of the project is that the Cory's shearwater, which comes to the island of La Palma every spring to nest, detects the light signal during its night flights and modifies its flight path. The laser light beam - reports Endesa - does not exceed the horizon line, thus respecting the so-called Law of the Sky. The project has been supervised by the Government of the Canary Islands. The wind farm where it is being implemented was executed by Eólicas de Fuencaliente SA, a company in which the Fuencaliente City Council participates.

      In the meteorological tower

      The innovative system that Endesa has installed to protect the shearwaters that settle on La Palma during the breeding season has been designed by means of a laser lighting mechanism placed in the meteorological tower of the wind farm, whose beam of light will be directed towards the shaft of the wind turbine closest to the sea, with the aim of helping the shearwaters that come from outside the island to nest to approach this part of the coast where the wind farm is located.

      Enel Green Power (a subsidiary of Endesa) has studied the behavior of the birds in the south of the island in recent years (with the implementation of various projects), especially the birds that enter from the sea to nest in the period from May to September. The flight paths of the Cory's shearwater have also been monitored.

      Finally, the company has opted to test this laser lighting solution, "which is preceded by very positive preliminary results after being tested in other types of installations with other shearwater species on the island of Hawaii and other experiences to keep wildlife away from crop fields," explained Endesa. In the case of La Palma, this project has been implemented with the collaboration of the consulting company Alenta Medioambiente.

      Manuel Ortega, Enel Green Power representative in the Canary Islands: "The system is activated automatically at 9 p.m. and deactivated at 7 a.m. the following day. All this is done by means of a preconfigured pattern. The light beam does not go beyond the horizon line and ends at the last wind turbine of the farm, as planned and requested by the various administrations involved".

      The La Palma wind farm has a nominal installed capacity of 22.5 megawatts and consists of three Enercon E-44 wind turbines, with a hub height of 56 meters; in 2019 it totaled an annual production of 11,027 megawatt hours.

      Endesa reports

      The Italian company currently participates in the Canary Islands in some fifteen wind farms, through its renewable subsidiary Enel Green Power España (EGPE), and together with different public and private institutions on the islands. Between them, they have a total capacity of 63.7 megawatts (MW). In Spain, Endesa currently manages, through EGPE, more than 7,507 MW of installed renewable capacity in Spain. Of this figure, 4,711 MW are conventional hydroelectric generation; and the rest, 2,796 MW, are wind (2,362 MW), solar (352 MW), mini-hydro (79 MW) and other renewable sources (3 MW).

      Enel Green Power, within the Enel Group, is dedicated to the development and operation of renewables around the world. It has a presence in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Enel Green Power claims "an installed capacity of around 53.2 gigawatts in a generation mix that includes wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric".

      Endesa claims to be the largest electricity company in Spain and the second largest in Portugal. It is also the second largest gas operator in the Spanish market. It develops an integrated business of generation, distribution and commercialization, and also offers, through Endesa X, services aimed at the electrification of energy uses in homes, companies, industries and Public Administrations. According to data provided by the company, it has a team of around 9,260 employees.


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