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Our commitment to decarbonisation and the development of renewable energy goes hand-in-hand with a commitment to the people and biodiversity that coexist with our plants. That is why our projects are accompanied by CSV plans (creating shared value), which involve the promotion of training, employment and sustainability in local communities.
We also have a Biodiversity Conservation Plan that enables us to integrate biodiversity protection and the improvement and maintenance of natural capital through the development of our company strategy.
How are we putting all this into practice? Through initiatives adapted to local needs and the environment for each renewable energy project.
Agrovoltaics is a blend of solar energy and agriculture. Although it may seem incredible, different fruits, vegetables, tubers and even aromatic plants, are able to coexist perfectly with photovoltaic plants. That is why the main objective of this project is to use part of the land where our photovoltaic plants are located for agricultural use, thus helping to preserve biodiversity and create shared value.
According to Roberto Andrés, Endesa's Head of Environmental Innovation, "our work focusses on the recovery of soil and protected species, which are vital for the maintenance of these areas, and the improvement of crops".
“Agrivoltaic projects concentrate on soil recovery and protected species”.
- Roberto Andrés, Endesa's Head of Environmental Innovation.
Agrivoltaics was implemented for the first time in Totana (province of Murcia), with the aim of giving the land a double use and using it to full advantage. So in this plant, whose dimension correspond to 150 football pitches, there is cultivation of horticultural species like red peppers, artichokes, broccoli, etc.
As explained by Inmaculada Fiteni, Head of Value Creation Programmes in Endesa's Sustainability Department, "sharing and not competing for land use with the primary sector is the best mechanism for achieving sustainability in our solar plants in the long term". That is why this initiative, which is in line with the European Green Deal, is also being replicated at the plants in Carmona (Seville), Valdecaballeros and Augusto (Badajoz) and Andorra (Teruel).
Trials are being conducted in Valdecaballeros with aromatic, medicinal and pollinating species, whilst in Augusto they are focussed on alfalfa and high-value horticultural crops.
“Sharing and not competing for land use is the best mechanism to achieve sustainability in our solar plants”.
- Inmaculada Fiteni, Head of Value Creation Programmes in Endesa's Sustainability Department.
Beekeeping and livestock
At the Las Corchas solar plant in Carmona, a pioneering beekeeping project is being developed that defends the importance of protecting bees as a means of preserving biodiversity and the future of the planet.
To achieve this, in addition to cultivating three hectares of aromatic plants, we have also installed more than 30 hives in a fenced enclosure, next to the solar panels, with a view to increasing the degree of pollination of those crops. The honey produced in this solar apiary is then sent to the convent of Santa Clara, where they use it to make craft sweets and use the profits for social actions.
Sheep also share their space with solar panels. Local shepherds in Totana, Carmona and Badajoz take their flocks to graze on the grounds of photovoltaic plants. So in addition to finding food, the sheep also undertake the natural clearing of wild plants. As Explained by Antonio Moset, Endesa's Head of Operations and Maintenance, "grass can be grown in the plants for livestock. Having sheep or some other type of livestock means that the plants stay under the solar panels and do not generate shade."
Protection of birds in solar energy plants
Endesa has been studying the impact of our activity for years and a number of initiatives have been launched to protect the animals that live within the environment of our plants. We have implemented several projects dedicated to the protection of birds, in Totana for example, where we have allocated eight hectares to create an ecological island that is enabling the development of a protected habitat for more than 25 species of birds, some of them severely under threat.
This photovoltaic plant, which has been fully operational since 2019, has an ecological corridor divided into two parts. Firstly, six hectares have been allocated to 15,000 plants that serve as a refuge for birds and, secondly, another two hectares have been planted with rotating crops that serve as food, these include wheat and alfalfa.
We have also developed a bird protection plan in for our installations in Extremadura. In collaboration with AMUS (Action for the Wild World Association), in the solar plant of Valdecaballeros (Badajoz) we have installed an infrastructure designed for breeding hen harriers in the wild, this is a very vulnerable species.
We have been working with this association for some time on projects including Life Eurokite, to protect the red kite. Alfonso Godino, technical coordinator for AMUS, values our participation in these initiatives very positively: "When working with Endesa's technicians, I have noticed that they prefer to listen to us and make small changes to their own projects for them to have a real impact on biodiversity. We have been able to redirect them, where necessary, for resources to be better used. That is why we like to work together, because we believe that we can really have a greater impact on the conservation of these species."
“When working with Endesa's technicians, I have noticed that they prefer to listen to us and make small changes to their own projects for them to have a real impact on biodiversity”.
- Alfonso Godino, technical coordinator for AMUS.
In Logrosán (Cáceres), as a result of the actions taken to improve the habitat of threatened species, several individuals corresponding to threatened species have recently been released: Three short-toed snake eagles and one red kite, all recovered in Extremadura's Fauna Recovery Centres.
Birds and mammals in wind farms
In wind farms we are also undertaking a number of initiatives with the aim of protecting biodiversity. We used the photo trap techniques we implemented in our plants in Galicia and Ávila to promote a study that enabled us to gather information on the presence of mammals in different areas within the wind farms. We concluded that wind farms do not affect the lives of the wild mammals that populate the hillsides, such as wolves, foxes, roe deer and hares.
At the same time, at the Fuencaliente wind farm (La Palma), we undertook a pioneering project to protect birds through by using an innovative laser lighting system. This mechanism, installed in the wind farm's meteorological tower and whose light is directed towards the shaft of the wind turbine closest to the sea, seeks to help shearwaters when returning to land to nest. The Scopoli's shearwater is another protected species.
Bats that live in hydroelectric power plants
Bats not only prevent the proliferation of insects, they are also considered to be significant bioindicators of the state of our different ecosystems. However, despite their importance, this mammal has been in decline for a number of years.
An unusual fact is that, as a result of a combination of humidity, tranquillity and mild temperatures, the galleries in hydroelectric power plants make an ideal habitat for chiroptera. That is why Endesa has begun to apply its Endesabats Project. Together with the Biodiversity and Animal Conservation Laboratory at the Centre Tecnològic Forestal de Catalunya, data are collected enabling us to adapt our hydraulic installations to be able to favour bat colonies, giving them shelter and helping them to complete their life cycle.
With all these initiatives our aim is to protect our relationship with the environment whilst producing renewable energy. In all cases we maintain constant communication with the municipalities and associations within the municipalities where our plants are established so we feel part of the community and in this way we are able to adapt to the needs of each area at all times.
Proyectos de biodiversidad en plantas solares
La Vega (Málaga)
La Vega (Málaga)
La Vega (Málaga)
Biodiversity projects in wind farms
Peña II y Picazo (Guadalajara)
Los Arcos (Málaga)
Castelo (A Coruña)
Santo Domingo Luna (Zaragoza)
Los Gigantes (Zaragoza)
Campoliva I (Zaragoza)
Peña II y Picazo (Guadalajara)
Los Arcos (Málaga)
Biodiversity projects in hydroelectric power plants
Cuenca del Noguera Pallasera (Lleida)
Camarasa y Canelles (Lleida)
Montesusín y Fayón (Huesca)
Tranco de Beas (Jaén)
Doña Aldonza (Jaén)
Les Garrigues (Lleida)
Riba-roja d´Ebre (Tarragona)
Tajo de la Encantada (Málaga)