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‘Mutilated’ rare vulture near wind turbine sparks legal threat from campaigners 

Credit:  Cosmo Sanderson · Published 13 June 2024 · rechargenews.com ~~

Spanish developer Acciona Energia is facing a legal complaint after one of its wind turbines was blamed for the death of a rare bearded vulture that was found “mutilated” nearby.

The bearded vulture, known as Masía, was found dead 40 metres from an Acciona turbine, said FCQ. Photo: Fundación para la Conservación del Quebrantahuesos

Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture (FCQ) claimed this week that the vulture died after being hit by a turbine blade.

FCQ said that data from the tracker being carried by the vulture, known as Masía, alerted its team to an “activity anomaly” that indicated she might have suffered an accident.

The FCQ team and agents from the Government of Aragon later found Masía’s corpse at the 50MW Refoyas wind farm, 40 metres from a turbine.

FCQ claimed the death showed the impact that that “poorly designed” wind farms have on biodiversity in Spain and said it is preparing a complaint to the local environmental prosecutor’s office.

While companies invest huge amounts of money in “large self-promotion campaigns to convince society of the sustainability of the wind energy production process, the facts show that the reality is different,” said FCQ vice president Gerardo Báguena.

He cited the “daily death of hundreds of animals in Spain” that are only evident when beacons with satellite technology are available, such as those used in monitoring threatened species.

The bearded vulture, known in Spanish as the \u003Ci>quebrantahuesos\u003C/i>, is one of the largest birds of prey in Spain, with wing spans approaching three metres.

Once common, they were hunted to the brink of extinction, and have more recently been the subject of a decades long reintroduction programme.

FCQ last year paused part of that programme over concerns over the proposed construction of another wind farm, that would have more than 100 turbines with tips over 150 metres tall.

Bird deaths are a key concern in the wind industry. A subsidiary of renewables pacesetter NextEra Energy Resources was fined $8m in 2022 over eagle deaths caused by its turbines in the US, while other battles have been fought over parrots and kittiwakes.

Báguena said that building wind farms in areas of great ecological value without taking sufficient technical measures to reduce bird mortality risks efforts put in by institutions, research centres and NGOs to protect threatened species.

An Acciona spokesperson told Recharge said the company is “at the disposal” of authorities to clarify what happened in the recent incident.

“Acciona Energia fully committed to the protection of wildlife and we rigorously comply with environmental monitoring protocols at all our facilities.”

Source:  Cosmo Sanderson · Published 13 June 2024 · rechargenews.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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