Wildlife & Energy Programme

Bats and Wind Energy

The EWT-WEP has recently added bat specialist studies to their repertoire.

Education and identification of key threats to bat biodiversity is imperative if we are to change perceptions and focus effective research to turn the tide on species decline. Wind farms have been identified as a key threat to bat populations. This is of particular concern in the South African context as many developers are seeking approval to proceed with various wind farm projects across the country.

Huge gaps in knowledge about certain aspects of southern African bat populations, such as population dynamics and migration patterns, exist. EWT-WEP aims to identify and bridge these gaps through both collaboration with academics and experts and development and execution of relevant research. An example of this is the recently completed South African Good Practice Guidelines for Surveying Bats in Wind Farm Developments developed in partnership with independent eco-consultant and trainer Sandie Sowler; Stellenbosch University postdoctoral fellow Samantha Stoffberg; and endorsed by the South African Wind Energy Association and Eskom. This document highlights the importance of bats in the context of the ecosystem services they provide and discusses the need to assess the impact of wind farms on ecology. In addition it provides guidance on assessing the need for monitoring and preparing, planning and implementing bat monitoring in respect to wind farm developments. The guidelines aim to standardise data collection and results interpretation and proactively address any possible negative impacts.

Birds and Wind Energy

We have partnered with BirdLife South Africa to address the potential impacts of our rapidly growing wind energy industry on our birds in South Africa. Our joint approach includes:

  • engaging with the wind energy developers through the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA);
  • facilitating the development of best practice guidelines (endorsed by SAWEA and Eskom) for preconstruction assessment of wind energy impacts on birds; click
  • and the development of an Avifaunal Wind Sensitivity map for South Africa

Publications & Guidelines