Wind and Solar
Applications for wind and solar energy developments are required under the Alberta Utilities Commissions (AUC) Rule 007 (AUC 2018), to demonstrate that concerns for wildlife have been adequately addressed. Wind and solar energy projects in Alberta are understood to be desirable developments, since they are a source of renewable clean energy; however, it is also understood that such developments can have direct and indirect impacts on wildlife.
One of the primary concerns with renewable energy projects includes impacts to bird and bat populations, but other species and habitats can also be negatively impacted by the construction and operation of these facilities.
As a result, the provincial government has implemented the Wildlife Directive for Alberta Solar Energy Projects (AEP 2017) and the Wildlife Directive for Alberta Wind Energy Projects (AEP 2017), the purpose of which is to ensure that solar and wind developments in Alberta include appropriate consideration of potential impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitat.
The Directives address all wildlife species in Alberta and is enforced for developments occurring on publicly and privately owned lands. These documents identify three primary categories of risk to wildlife: mortality; habitat loss and fragmentation, and; habitat degradation. The Directives take the approach of imposing standards and recommending best management practices (BMPs) at four primary stages of development.
Fiera can help!
Our ecologists and geospatial scientists have expertise in landscape ecology and habitat connectivity, and can help wind and solar project developers find sites for their projects that minimize potential conflicts with wildlife.
- Stage 2: Project Layout and Pre-Construction Surveys
Our wildlife and habitat biologists will put their extensive knowledge Alberta’s local fauna and flora to work conducting the necessary baseline surveys that will be used to guide the design of the proposed facility to meet AUC wildlife mitigation requirements.
- Stage 3: Construction and Operation Mitigation
We will develop a Construction and Operation Plan for the proposed wind or solar project which will incorporate the findings of Stages 1 & 2 concerning risks to wildlife and habitat, and will address issues such as restricted activity periods, noise management, wetland protection, wildlife movement, electrocution risk, collision risk, etc. As required under the directive, we will design and implement a Post-construction Wildlife Monitoring and Mitigation Plan.
- Stage 4: Post-construction Wildlife Monitoring
Upon approval of the Post-construction Wildlife Monitoring Plan by the client, and by the regulator, our wildlife monitoring experts will implement the monitoring, and provide all the required reporting for submission to the AUC.