A windmill and a fruit bat / Description: Getty, montage RE.
Nyctalus lasiopterus, or Great Noctule. That’s the name of the bat in Cruz’s heart that made EDF and its wind project back down. News that divides citizens, but reassures biodiversity conservationists.
EDF Renouvelables has abandoned plans to install 25 to 30 wind farms southeast of Cruz. Spread across 6 municipalities, the wind farm was a real point of contention among residents and local elected officials. However, it was not these tensions that stopped the project, but rather an innovation. In 2021, large noctules were actually found near the future site of the wind turbines. This species, with its 45 cm wingspan, is the largest bat in Europe.
Faced with this situation, the EDF subsidiary wants to withdraw. The decision was welcomed by opponents of the project, united under the umbrella of the VITHEC (Quiet and Happy Glass in Cruises) association. However, for the latter, the battle is far from over as other foreign projects are in development in the same region. Thus, Jean-Claude Chappemont, a member of the association, said Our colleagues from the Parisian : “People do not understand that the French primacy in terms of energy is withdrawing, but at the same time, in the same sector, German and Spanish entrepreneurs still want to install wind turbines”.
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Bats are the first victims of wind turbines
For biodiversity advocates, the news is an important victory because bats are the first victims of wind farms, ahead of birds and insects. Particularly vulnerable, they are victims of collisions with the blades, but also of excessive air pressure generated by the latter movement (the tips of the blades sometimes reach almost 300 km / h). This phenomenon causes barotrauma in bats, i.e. internal injuries caused by sudden changes in pressure. In this regard, not all wind turbines are created equal. These are models with large rotors and low “ground clearance”. lead to High mortality rate.
Generally, studies show that wind turbines are installed tended to Bats are gradually disappearing up to a kilometer around wind turbines to degrade their natural habitat.
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Because of their particularly slow reproductive cycles, the survival of bat species depends on a delicate balance. As a result, sudden changes in their environment can have dramatic effects in the short and medium term and lead to the extinction of some species. That is why they are all protected.
Over the past ten years, many measures have been taken to better protect bats. First, before building a new wind farm, a pre-construction impact assessment must be carried out by the operator. Necessary for obtaining building permits, this study verifies that wind turbine impacts on bats will be minimal. More recent wind turbines are equipped with a clamping system that makes it possible to stop the wind turbine during periods of high bat activity and when there is little wind. This system reduces the mortality rate.
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Consider biodiversity at the origin of projects
During the studies for the implementation of a new wind project, operators today mainly deal with the energy production capacity of the sites and obstacles connected to human activities such as houses, airports.
Despite the gradual evolution of regulations, biodiversity remains largely a secondary criterion. Organizations such as National Museum of Natural History Campaign for biodiversity, and location should be selected according to local ecosystems. The specific objective is to consider the evolution of the function of animal and plant species over long periods of time to ensure better coexistence.
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