The Government of Aragon has admitted that more than 900 birds, most of them large birds and raptors, and more than 300 bats have died in the last five years after impacting with the propellers of the wind turbines of up to 110 wind farms. There are almost five fatal accidents per week, almost half of them, 498, with griffon vultures as victims.
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They may not be the totality, since it is possible that some corpses could have been eaten by predators before being located by the APN (Nature Protection Agents) or those responsible for the facilities or that they had fallen in areas outside these and deaths will not be linked to them.
But, in any case, it is a disturbing magnitude in terms of loss of biodiversity, both due to the type of birds that are being affected by the presence of wind turbines and the number of victims.
“It is true that there are parks that have recently been put into operation that show high mortality rates and that are being the object of greater attention in case the adoption of exceptional protection measures is necessary,” admits the Minister of Agriculture, Joaquín Olona, in his answer to one parliamentary question of IU deputy Álvaro Sanz, in which, however, he clarifies that “it is not possible to make a joint assessment of the seriousness of the incidents” because the “casuistry of mortality in the wind farms of Aragon” is “very varied”.
Thirteen energy complexes exceed twenty fatal accidents in the last five years: La Nava (74) and Los Cierzos (37) in Gallur, those of Mallén (51) and El Campo (31) in that town, that of Santo Domingo de Luna ( 43), Las Majas V and II (37 and 35) in Fuendetodos and Tosos and Aguilón, San Pedro de Alacón (31), San Agustín (29) in Azaila, La Sarda (28) in Las Pedrosas, La Serreta (23 ) in Lumpiaque, the second phase of Acampo Arias (25) in Zaragoza and La Estanca (21) in Alcañiz.
Among the thirteen, eleven of them located in the province of Zaragoza, add up to more than a quarter of the victims, 463.
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The counselor’s reply includes how between May 1, 2016 and April 30, 2021, 919 specimens of birds and 341 of bats were deposited in the La Alfranca Wildlife Recovery Center, which which makes a total of 1,260. Among the former there are 69 species and among the latter, there are ten.
The content of the answer contrasts with that of a previous one from the Minister of Industry, Arturo Aliaga, who maintained that “in general this mortality has not been verified” of birds in wind farms that have been denounced by environmental groups although “in a timely manner” and “in very specific facilities” there could be records “that could be of special interest in terms of somewhat unusual data on bird mortality.”
That same answer indicated that the time that has elapsed since the obligation to set up environmental monitoring commissions in around sixty wind farms began, of just one year, supposed “a relatively short period for a learning period of the new habitat that have been found [las aves] with the proliferation of wind turbines that they were unaware of in their last migratory steps, for example. ”
Agriculture is working on “developing a Protocol for the adoption of additional protection measures in cases of conflicting wind turbines“in which it will set” reference criteria when assessing the accident rate for the fauna of certain wind turbines and adopting measures to minimize it “for these commissions.
The document, the final drafting of which will be consulted with Industry, will establish “the steps to follow and the criteria and data to consider until a decision is made on a temporary or definitive shutdown of one or more wind turbines, always through the evaluation of mortality and the circumstances in which this occurs “, Olona advances, adding that, in extreme cases, the Inaga (Aragonese Institute of Environmental Guarantee) will be competent to order” the dismantling “of the park or of specific mills” after hearing the commission of monitoring the park if it exists “.
About 700 raptors and large birds
The figures that the Ministry of Agriculture exposes in its response place the griffon vulture as the most affected species, with a small bird such as the calandria (42) that appears in second position as an exception to a mortality rule in which the large birds and raptors: 20 booted and 12 royal eagles, 13 marsh harriers, 20 buzzards, 32 common kestrels and 12 lessers, 34 black kites and 25 royals, totaling 168 specimens to which are added another 8 eagles (7 short-toed and a fisherwoman), two Egyptian vultures, an eagle owl, a black vulture, four storks, a swan, a peregrine falcon, a crane, an owl and a purple heron.
Large birds and raptors, which with the development of renewables encounter unexpected and deadly obstacles in the wind corridors and the slopes that they traditionally used to propel themselves and take flight, add 687 confirmed victims of wind turbines, almost three every week to add three out of four in total.
The consequences of this mortality are obvious: loss of scavenger birds, and with it of their sanitary function of eliminating corpses in the natural environment, and reduction in the number of mammalian predators such as rabbits, whose presence has pest dimensions in several areas. of the community.
In the case of bats, the main risk for their survival lies in the attractiveness that wind turbine lighting has for the insects that form the basis of their diet, since they die from the impact of the blades when they come to hunt them. .
Almost half of the bats that died in accidents with wind turbines, 161, were of the dwarf species, followed in volume of victims by the Cabrera (106), the clear-edged (41) and the mountaineer (28).