It’s hard to imagine forests without rustling leaves or birdsong. It’s impossible to imagine bodies of water without fish or fields without the colors and scents of wildflowers. And yet, by the end of the century over half the species on our planet will be at risk of extinction.
Over-exploitation of resources, reduction of natural habitats, pollution and climate change are an increasingly perilous threat to the future of our planet. The International Day for Biological Diversity, now in its 25th edition, is a wake-up call to this danger. Celebrated every May 22nd, it’s an invitation to act now to conserve species diversity for future generations.
Spain: solid actions for plants and bats
Every day, Enel Green Power coexists with nature by producing renewable energy, fostering sustainable development and taking solid action to protect ecosystems and natural habitats wherever the company is present.
Near Castelo wind farm in Galicia, Spain, dozens of Centaurea Ultreiae, an endangered plant species, were discovered. To ensure their survival and propagation, we commissioned a study and ended up planting 220 of them in a 2,000 sqm area.
Collaborating with Endesa on the Endesabats project, we’ve studied the bat colonies that tend to roost in the attics of our Iberian hydroelectric plants. Thanks to our collaboration with the Forest Science and Technology Center of Catalonia’s Animal and Biodiversity Conservation Lab, we’re learning how to improve their chances for survival.
North America: solar energy, agriculture and monitoring biodiversity
The coexistence of renewable plants and nature is a must for EGP. In North America, Enel Green Power has three plants in Minnesota (Atwater, Chisaco and Eastwood) that are hosting National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers involved in Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE). The project studies the integration of solar panels and plant species.
Thanks to InSPIRE, whenever we build a solar plant, after installing the solar panels, we cultivate indigenous and medical plants and flowers. Thus, we create a habitat for bees and other species of pollinators to help the entire local ecosystem. Shade from the solar panels is great for vegetable gardens, which need to be protected from the sun during the hottest part of the day and need less water to grow.
In Mexico, we’ve engaged universities and research centers in a huge monitoring project. Used to create detailed protocols, the main studies currently underway observe and protect the following endangered animal species: the lynx, the Texas tortoise, the monarch butterfly, various species of lizards (uta stansburiana and uma exsul), birds and lepidopterae (moths and butterflies).
Latin America: land, water and sky
The area around El Quimbo hydroelectric power station in Colombia has been the focus of many biodiversity protection projects. First, the intense process of tropical dry forest reforestation: this multi-step project, started in 2015, covers an area of more than 11,000 hectares. Thus far, Enel Green Power has planted hundreds of thousands of trees, helped build a research center open to the public and created the “Cerro Matambo” nature reserve.
Also around El Quimbo, thanks to our collaboration with Universidad Surcolombiana, we’ve supported the Rio Magdalena restocking project by introducing over 200 thousand little fish, all species in danger of extinction. And we haven’t forgotten about the birds! Conservation efforts have been made to protect the red-crowned parakeet (Psittacara wagleri) and the yellow-crowned parrot (Amazona ochrocephala) by recreating their natural habitats.
In Chile, we launched a project to monitor the development of vegetation in the Paposo area (in the Taltal coastal desert) and a program to conserve Markham’s storm petrel (Oceanodroma Markhami). The former is studying this species of vegetation, unique in the world, that may be classified as a priority for conservation. The latter has made solid advances in protecting one of the world’s lesser-known marine birds.
Last but not least, near the Delfina wind farm in Brazil, a research project is underway to chart areas frequented by jaguars and pumas (Panthera onca and Puma concolor), using innovative surveillance technology via satellite and GPS collars. The purpose of the project is: to better understand the wild animals’ behavior in nature in order to protect them; to make locals aware of the importance of protecting these species; to map out areas the frequented often by the felines; to identify risk areas for human presence to mitigate human-jaguar/puma conflict.
In Australia, a land overflowing with biodiversity and still pristine for the most part, we’re caring for over 3,000 hectares around our Bungala solar park. The land is special, as salt marshes coexist with a prevalently desert landscape inhabited by many small marsupials, reptiles and birds. This unique ecosystem is extremely important for the biodiversity of vulnerable plant species.
Thanks to this and other projects that we’ve funded throughout the world over the years, we’re making progress every day following our sustainable development model, respecting the environment and the planet’s extraordinary variety of species.