Creating an equilibrium between renewable energy growth and environmental protection
The expansion of the renewable energy sector in Africa cokes with the risk of invading some unique species’ space. Alex Ngari of BirdLife Africa connotes what is due to the expansion of energy infrastructure and what can be done to reverse the upcoming problems. This piece will address the developments in the renewable energy sector and the due recompense on the environment. The challenge of Africa is accessing affordable electricity that is reliable throughout the year. This challenge costs the continent about 4% of its yearly Gross Domestic Product.
The energy demand is increasing throughout the continent, leading to the sprout of various power utilities and electricity programs to satisfy these growing demands. The uptake of renewables in Africa has escalated to 60% in the last one-and-a-half decade. Underexplored energy projects have resulted in cataclysmic environmental and commercial problems. These projects face a lot of criticism due to poor evaluation and implementation, leading to a halt of the operations.
Implementing these projects risks the ecosystem since the most vulnerable wildlife is endangered by the under-evaluated projects, which only seek to capitalize on the growing demand for electricity or renewable energy. Birds have experienced a massacre with the development of wind turbines in the areas close to their habitat. Some are electrocuted by the bare cables transmitting electricity to different regions. The birds with huge volumes encounter challenges with the energy infrastructure, with the likes of the Egyptian Vulture experiencing migratory challenges in areas infested with cables supplying electricity. This rare species ends up electrocuted when they can’t penetrate the spacing between the air’s electric cables. Other species affected by these powerlines and wind turbines include Jackal Buzzard, Amur Falcon, and Common Kestrel, which have reported high deaths.
The problems emerging between the birds and the energy infrastructure displays the existing poorly managed power utilities. The problem indicates that the projects have been mismanaged, implemented wrongly, or in uncouth ways, and their purpose was to make profits regardless of the environmental changes. These challenges are a display of inefficiently implemented power programs that can be reviewed to overcome the problems.
The resolution to such problems is advocating for biodiversity considerations at all renewable energy project deployment stages. This move will allow the public and environmental proponents to enjoy the conservation of the vulnerable species. For instance, BirdLife is pioneering to educate energy developers on how they can effectively implement their renewable energy projects without the massacre of birds and other species that fly in the air. The agency is tackling three stages: planning, generation, or development of power infrastructure and energy transmission.
In planning, the agency educates the developers on observing the stipulated measures for screening associated risks to the ecosystem to enable them to reschedule them differently. At the generation stage, the environmental activists champion the closure of the windfarms whose turbines are a killer machine for the birds. Finally, the stakeholders hope that the powerlines can be supplanted with penetrable spaces to avoid electrocutions. The energy developers should also make the cables visible from a distance for the birds to avoid collisions.