Increasing the production of renewable energies is essential to achieve the energy transition towards decarbonisation of the economy. Both large-scale photovoltaic and wind power require large areas of land, so their installation must be carried out in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.


To ensure that the construction of new renewable energy parks does not cause damage to biodiversity, a multitude of studies are taken into account prior to their construction, such as the replanting of flora or the care of species. According to Fernando Ferrando, president of the Renewables Foundation, the negative impacts of renewables on biodiversity are very small.

How can renewable energy have an impact on biodiversity?

In the case of wind farms, large wind turbines affect animal life, mainly birds and bats. The direct impact of the blades, due to their size and force, can cause changes in atmospheric pressure, which affects the flight of these animals. It is calculated that the impact of a wind turbine on the carbon footprint is amortised in just over 7 months, making wind energy one of the technologies with the least negative impact on the environment.

In the case of photovoltaic solar plants, their installation can affect land deforestation. However, according to a study by the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), it has been analysed that, after the installation of a photovoltaic plant, the space is suitable for a large number of species of birds, invertebrates and other vertebrates.

Today, both wind farms and the most recent photovoltaic plants have much improved measures to reduce the impact on fauna and flora compared to those built some time ago. So far, solar energy has had the least impact on our ecosystem and its collection facilities are the least invasive, leaving the smallest footprint and can be almost entirely recycled.

What remedies exist to regulate the impact of renewables on biodiversity?

On the one hand, there is the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC), which has an approved Strategic Environmental Assessment, setting targets for renewables penetration and various considerations of how they should be deployed. On the other hand, there is the instrument of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for projects of many types, including renewable plants of a certain size, which are regulated in Law 21/2013 on Environmental Assessment (EA) and by regulations of some autonomous communities that expand the assumptions to be considered.

Thanks to technological advances, new ways of generating energy are made more sustainable, supporting the environment and combating climate change.

What aspects need to be taken into account to ensure that the energy transition is beneficial for biodiversity conservation?

Appropriate zoning: this involves prior planning, avoiding areas of high environmental and landscape value.

Size: carrying out small, decentralised projects and, whenever possible, linked to local self-consumption.

Research and development: using, as far as possible, wind turbines or solar panels that generate a low environmental impact.

Environmental impact studies: these studies must be strict, efficient and independent, as well as presenting the reality with documented and field-tested work.

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