Webinar

Webinar: Shared Airspace - Innovative approaches for a bird-friendly electricity grid

Our second Energy & Nature webinar dives into three innovative practices which all aim to tackle risk of bird mortality around electricity infrastructure.

Be it a row of swallows along a power line or a watchful raptor atop a pylon, interactions between birds and the grid are a familiar sight. Unfortunately, this relationship is not always peaceful. Indeed, without proper planning or mitigation measures, collision and electrocution with power lines can pose a real threat to some avian species. The potential risk of mortality for birds around the grid is a known issue and across Europe and beyond, steps are being taken by grid operators, often in collaboration with civil society organisations, academia and with the help of citizen science.

For example, by using accurate, regularly updated data on bird presence, new grid routes can avoid sensitive areas. Such data can also be used to prioritise areas where bird-friendly components and insulation should be installed to prevent electrocution and visible markers should be added to help prevent collision. In some cases, power lines can be buried underground to remove risk entirely. Central to all of these approaches is collaboration, data and transparency.

In the second event in RGI’s Energy & Nature webinar series, we heard from experts working at the intersection of energy and nature and learn about some innovative approaches to making the electricity grid truly bird-friendly. Speakers included:

  • Eric Neuling, Bird Conservation Officer at Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany (NABU) - Within his role at NABU, Eric works on diverse initiatives to protect birds in Germany, including as part of the collaborative 'Bird Portal', with RGI and 7 grid operators. At the webinar, he presented a brand new study which collates data on collisions and electrocutions with the grid across all EU Member states.
  • Dominique Verbelen, Scientific Officer for Birds and Amphibians at Natuurpunt - Dominique spoke about the renowned collaboration between Belgian TSO, Elia, and Belgian NGOs Natuurpunt and Natagora, to create a map to quantify the risk of bird collision with power lines for the whole of Belgium, enabling estimations of collision risk anywhere in the country. Read more
  • Liam Innis, Manager - Energy Ecosystems at RGI - Liam is responsible for RGI's work on bird protection and biodiversity around the electricity grid. In Germany, he coordinates the 'Bird Portal' project, a 5-year old collaboration between NABU and 7 German grid operators, to gather data on bird mortality and collaborate for solutions.

Following their inputs, we had a 30-minute open discussion round.

Recording & video

Shared Airspace - Innovative Approaches for a Bird-friendly Electricity Grid

Webinar presentations

Dominique Verbelen, Scientific Officer for Birds and Amphibians | Natuurpunt

 

Liam Innis, Manager - Energy Ecosystems | Renewables Grid Initiative

 

Eric Neuling, Deputy Head and Policy Officer for Bird Conservation | NABU

Further links

Contact

Liam Innis
Manager - Energy Ecosystems

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+49 30 7677194 55
liam[at]renewables-grid.eu

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect those of the EU or LIFE Programme. Neither the EU nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

RGI gratefully acknowledges the EU LIFE funding support:

EU LIFE funding support Logo

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the LIFE Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.