Renewable Energy

As the number of solar farms in the UK increases, there is growing interest in the interactions of wildlife with ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels. Evidence of whether operational solar farms impact on biodiversity remains limited, however, particularly in a UK context. To address this, BSG Ecology has undertaken a literature review of worldwide research on the evidence of the impacts of solar farms on biodiversity.
On 14 March 2019 BSG Ecology, Womble Bond Dickinson and Scottish Power Renewables collaborated to deliver a seminar to wind farm developers and asset managers on the implications of recent guidance concerning bats and onshore wind farms published by Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. This was the second of two planned seminars on the subject, and took place at the Citizen M Hotel in central Glasgow.
On 8 January 2019 Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) published “Bats and Onshore Wind Turbines: Survey, Assessment and Mitigation.” This is now the industry standard, and formally replaces Natural England’s TIN 051 and Chapter 10 of the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) Guidance (Hundt, 2012). It is endorsed by all the statutory nature conservation stakeholders and by BCT. This article provides an initial review of the changes in survey and monitoring the guidance brings, and comments on the implications of these for developers.
BSG Ecology will be exhibiting at the All Energy Conference at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), Glasgow on 10-11 May 2017. Please come and visit us on Stand E21, where Peter Shepherd, Owain Gabb and Rachel Taylor will be available to discuss the ecological solutions and support you may require, and any technical concerns you have (such as the implications of forthcoming changes in bat survey guidelines for new and existing renewables schemes).
Using our thermal imaging camera, BSG Ecologist Jenny James recorded this footage of golden plover foraging within a wind farm in England. The clip, recorded in January 2015, shows the plovers using a cultivated arable field at night, close to the base of an operational wind turbine. The birds are approximately 25m from the turbine's base; several other turbines are present nearby. The lower sweep of the blades (clearly visible in the clip) is approximately 20m above ground level. From the footage, this golden plover flock does not appear to be affected by the nearby turbine.
As the number of solar parks in the UK increases, there is growing interest in the interaction of wildlife with ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. To date, a relatively low number of research papers have formed the basis for considerable discussion on the subject, and in some cases these have informed guidance relating to PV solar parks in the UK.
In August 2013, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) released revised bird survey guidance for onshore wind farms.  This represents the first substantial revision of guidance that was first formally issued in late 2005 (minor revisions / amendments were made in 2010).  SNH has led the way on this topic in UK terms, and understanding changes in the SNH guidance is therefore very important, as they will be reflected in consultee expectations with regard to survey work throughout the UK.
There has been a considerable rise in the number of single turbine proposals over the past few years.  This has come about primarily as a result of the introduction of Government feed-in tariffs, which have provided incentives to develop single turbine schemes.  Despite the incentives, these small schemes generally have a limited budget if they are to be viable development propositions and sources of renewable energy.