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Assessing the effect of wind farms in fauna with a mathematical model

[Abstract]
Energy production by wind turbines has many advantages. The wind is a renewable energy that does not emit greenhouse gases and has caused a considerable increase in wind farms around the world. However, this type of energy is not completely free of impact. In particular, wind turbines displace and kill a wide variety of wild species what forces us to plan their location well. In any case, the determination of the effects of wind farms on fauna, especially the flying one, is difficult to determine and depends on several factors. In this work, we will try to establish a mathematical algorithm that allows us to combine all variables that affect the species with the idea of quantifying the effect that can be caused by the installation of a wind farm with certain characteristics in a given place. We have considered specific parameters of wind farms, the most relevant environmental characteristics related to the location of the wind farm, and morphological, ethological, and legal characteristics in the species. Two types of assessment are established for the definitive valuation: Total Assessment and Weighted Assessment. Total Valuation is established based on a reference scale that will allow us to establish categories of affection for the different species while Weighted Valuation allows us to establish which species are most affected.

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Figure 1. Factors influencing mortality of species by wind farms. The potential negative effects of wind farms depend not only on the characteristics of them (design and spatial distribution of the turbines) but also on the orography of the land, the present species (abundance of the species and also of their prey, their behaviour and their flight characteristics and socioeconomic, demographic aspects (Wing Goodale and Stenhouse).

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Figure 2. Relationships of variables affecting species mortality. It is necessary to consider the possible relationships between the different variables. Probably, the potential effects of the described wind farms could increase their effects or be mutually exclusive (Marques et al.).

Pablo Refoyo Román, Cristina Olmedo Salinas, and Benito Muñoz Araújo
Biodiversity, Ecology & Evolution Department, Biological Sciences Faculty, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

Scientific Reports (2020) 10:14785

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