Ensuring biodiversity is protected while a pioneering wind farm project demonstrates the potential for renewable energy development in Western Africa
In 2013 Ramboll oversaw the delivery of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for Taiba N’Diaye, the first large wind farm in Senegal that includes the construction and operation of over 40 wind turbines and a generating capacity in excess of 150 MW.
Endangered vultures and thousands of bats
A key challenge for the project has been the presence of both bird and bat species within the project area, including the critically endangered hooded vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) and a very large congregation of straw-coloured fruit bats that seasonally visit the area. Ramboll has been working with the project developers providing social and biodiversity specialist input. Following the baseline surveys, the site was determined to be potentially critical habitat for the hooded vulture.
Training local specialists
Ramboll worked with local specialists to develop and complete a detailed programme of surveys to identify bird and bat activity, prepare a detailed assessment for the ESIA and develop a biodiversity action plan. During multiple visits to Senegal, Ramboll experts trained local specialists in the techniques and survey methodologies required to complete the surveys, and completed the analyses of all data collected in the field.
The project is currently being constructed and a recent field visit set up a programme of post-construction surveys and monitoring to be undertaken by a team of sub-contractors composed of employees from the forestry service and teenagers from the village of Taiba N’Diaye. The data collected is being provided to Ramboll for analysis and review.
Gathering data to aid conservation
Working with the local specialists, Ramboll will be gathering data intended to shed more light on the interactions between species and renewable energy projects. Ramboll hopes that the data will aid the conservation efforts for hooded and other endangered vulture species facing many challenges across Africa.
- According to the IUCN Red List, the total Hooded vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) population size is maximum of 197,000 individuals. Currently this species is classified as critically endangered and its numbers are decreasing.
- A 2017 study focussing on hooded vulture status in Dakar (Senegal’s capital, located approximately 80 km to the south-west of the wind farm site) identified a 85% population decline from 3,000 in 1969 to 400 in 2016. Key contributing factors discussed are urbanisation, poisoning of feral dogs and loss of nesting/roosting trees (Mullie et al, 2017).
- Ruppell's vulture (Gyps rueppelli) is a large vulture that can be found throughout the Sahel region of central Africa. The current population of 22,000 is decreasing due to loss of habitat, incidental poisoning and other factors.
- Once fully operational the Taiba N’Diaye wind farm capacity will be 158.7 MW, a 15% increase in electricity generation capacity for the country, providing power for over two million people.
- Five surveyors were trained to undertake the post-construction surveys: two members of the forestry service and three teenagers from the village of Taiba N’Diaye. Surveyors were trained in undertaking carcass searches and the calibration surveys required to calculate searcher efficiency and scavenger bias. These skills can be used on other wind energy projects in future.
Sustainable Development Goals addressed
|4 Quality education
7 Affordable and clean energy
8 Decent work and economic growth
9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
10 Reduced inequalities
11 Sustainable cities and communities
12 Responsible consumption and production
13 Climate action
15 Life on land