At Atlantica, we are committed to protecting and preserving biodiversity in the areas where we do business. We work to meet or exceed laws and regulations related to biodiversity. We also work with independent organizations to verify sustainable practices related to land use and biodiversity.
At Mojave, our U.S. asset, we monitor and survey a protected Mojave Desert Tortoise, Gopherus Agassizii, which appears and roams freely through the large vicinity of the plant under the protection of our biologist and plant personnel. We employ several designated biologists to monitor and survey the wildlife. During 2017, we recorded and reported to Fish and Wildlife Agency, California Energy Commission and California Game and Fish Agency 1 spotted live tortoises and nil dead tortoises. At Mojave, we donated a plot of land to the Transition Habitat Conservancy, an organization dedicated to protection of wildlife corridor ecosystems and education about nature of desert plants and animals in the West Mojave Desert. The land is an ecosystem for tortoise where we have found 34 tortoise burrows.
Additionally, at Mojave, our biologist and environmental specialists continuously study behavior of local and migrating birds and animals and protect them by actively deterring them away from the evaporation ponds located in the territory of the plants to avoid avian and animal casualties as directed by the California Energy Commission Conditions. We use various avian deterrents approved by the California Energy Commission. Among them are emission of noise of their applicable predators, water spraying, and “eagle eyes”. “Eagle eyes” is an optical bird deterrent used to harmlessly prevent birds from danger of landing and consuming evaporation pond’s water high in salt minerals.
Our specialists, as a result of their studies, continue improving ways to protect birds and animals by proposing more effective and safe processes, which are in continuous discussion with the California Energy Commission. According to our approved Bird Monitoring Study that complies with condition BIO-17, we continuously monitor the life of birds within the premises of Mojave, survey collected dead birds and transfer to local authorities the bird carcasses found within the territory of the plant for further autopsies to determine cause of their death. BIO-17 is a certification that the Mojave project makes to the California Energy Commission relative to monitoring impacts of solar collecting technology on birds. To-date, approximately 10 necropsies have taken place. We have not had any violations or non-compliance in this respect.
In our projects in Uruguay, we perform continuous monitoring and reporting of impact of spinning blades of our wind farms on local species of bats and birds. The monitoring scientific studies are performed by independent biodiversity consultants contracted by our projects. The latest study dated November 2017 lasted two years distributed over summer and winter period with coverage of bats and birds habituating in meadows, farmland and valleys in the proximity of the wind farm. The study did not conclude that there was a direct impact on the local fauna and made a recommendation to closely monitor the protected bird species Loica Pampeana (Sturnella defilippii) and Bald Eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus). The windfarm is taking measures to implement recommendations by elaborating and executing a protocol of quick stops at the proximity of the bald eagles, periodic monitoring by biologists and reporting of bird mortalities and evaluation of effectiveness of these measures.