Scatec acknowledges that there is an ongoing global biodiversity crisis and that all businesses must work to minimise their negative biodiversity impacts and maximise positive impacts.
Utility scale renewable power plants are essential to address the climate crisis but do require large amounts of land to capture energy from the sun, wind and rain which impacts local nature. Scatec owns and operates a variety of renewable energy technologies that have differing potential impacts. Scatec works to identify relevant impacts, avoid sensitive areas where possible and implement mitigation measures to minimise impacts and restore biodiversity.
We follow the precautionary principle and carry out studies such as Environmental and Social Due Diligence (ESDD) Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) for all projects, which may include assessing direct, indirect and cumulative impacts where relevant, to identify potential risks and mitigation measures before development.See more
We will not develop projects in areas where a threat to critically endangered species cannot be mitigated. We follow the mitigation hierarchy for negative impacts; avoid, minimise, restore and finally offset residual negative impacts. We aim to achieve net gain for critical habitat and no net loss in natural habitat in all our projects. Where we are not able to sufficiently mitigate impacts, we ensure additional biodiversity offsets of high quality to compensate for potential biodiversity losses.
We aim to avoid developments in forests and will not develop projects that negatively impact Intact Forest Landscapes. If we develop projects in areas where there are direct impacts upon forests, we aim to restore or plant an appropriate replacement forest equivalent to the area of forest impacted. We restore sites at end of life to ensure a comparable or better ecosystem state than before development.
During project development we use third party specialists to assess and mitigate biodiversity risk while adhering to strict requirements of the IFC Performance Standards and the Equator Principles. We review findings and incorporate mitigation measures into project environmental and social management plans.
For all our projects, land transformation is minimised and land use optimised to lessen impact on fauna and flora. Relevant measures during construction and operations include, among other things, fencing off storage areas, keeping lighting at a minimum and allowing the free movement (migration) of small animals by maintaining migration corridors underneath perimeter fences.
Scatec maps protected area proximity during project development and has assessed all operational Scatec operated power plant proximity to protected areas within 10km (see table). Many of our power plants are in proximity to protected areas, but only one is partially within a protected area. The biodiversity impact on protected areas is assessed during project development and for established plants is low to very low.
Our Ukraine power plants for example are located close to Emerald network areas of special conservation interest, a network of sites with the objective for the long-term survival of the species and habitats of the Bern Convention requiring specific protection measures. These cover a large portion of Ukraine’s riverine ecosystems that drain into the black sea. The impacts upon this ecosystem is low as there are no discharges from the sites and they are built on brownfield areas and low quality farmland, so there was limited conversion of habitat and the sites may even provide improved habitat for some species.
|Country||Plant name||Area affected (hectares)||Located in protected area?||Description of Scatec operated power plant proximity to protected area and IUCN or other protected status|
|Czech Republic||Hrusovany||8||No||Adjacent to the Travni Dvur protected area (IUCN category (cat.) IV). There are also multiple protected areas within a 10km radius.|
|Czech Republic||Mramotice||6||No||3km from Lom U Zerutek protected area (IUCN cat. IV). There are also multiple protected areas within a 10km radius.|
|Czech Republic||Sulkov||22||No||2km from Novy Rybnik protected area (IUCN cat. IV). Also multiple small, protected areas within a 10km radius.|
|Czech Republic||Svitavy||6||No||5km from Hrebecovsky Les protected area (IUCN cat. IV). Also multiple other protected areas within a 10km radius.|
|Honduras||Agua Fria||63||No||2 km away from Bahia de Chismuyo, a RAMSAR 1000 habitat/ species management area (IUCN cat. IV), a mangrove and tropical ecosystem & resting places for migratory and resident birds. Also 8km from San Lorenzo species management area (IUCN cat. IV).|
|Honduras||Los Prados||133||No||1.4 km away from EI Jicarito and 6 km from San Bernard,both RAMSAR 1000 habitat/species management areas, a mangrove and tropical ecosystem & resting places for migratory and resident birds.|
|Malaysia||Merchang (Quantum)||81||No||1km from Rantua Abang fisheries protected area (IUCN cat. IV) and 3km from Jambu Bongkok forest reserve (IUCN cat. IV). Site consists of modified and natural habitats (wetlands west of site).|
|South Africa||Linde||108||No||Hanover Aarvark nature reserve and Karoo Garriep Nature reserve. No IUCN cat.|
|Ukraine||Progressovka||203||Yes||Plant next to an estuary and partially within Tyligulskyi Lyman Emerald Network area of special conservation interest. Boarders Kosa Strilka (IUCN cat. IV). 4km from Petrivs'kly IV habitat and species protected area.|
|Ukraine||Chigirin||82||No||Borders Kremenchutske reservoir, (Emerald Network). Brownfield site, originally planned as the site of a nuclear power plant.|
|Ukraine||Boguslav||75||No||1km from the Ros River valley (Emerald Network). Site previously a mix of agricultural land & area designated for energy production.|
|Ukraine||Rengy (Mykolaivs'ka projects)||63||No||Afanasiivk adjacent to Lower inhulets river valley (Emerald network). Taborivka power plant is 8km from Nyzhnie Pobuzhzhia (Emerald Network). Sites were greenfield sites with relatively poor soils used for grazing previously.|
|Ukraine||Kamianka||50||No||8km from Kholodnyi Yar (Emerald network). The project is located on a brownfield site surrounded by the town.|
|Vietnam||Dam Nai||760||No||4km from Nui Chua National Park (IUCN cat. II). Plant is on agricultural land and is thus a dual use area due to the small footprint of each wind turbine.|
Key impacts by technology:
Scatec’s projects have varying impacts on biodiversity depending on their size and location. Many of our projects are built on brownfield sites or low-grade farmland with limited habitat impacts.
These solar power plant developments can potentially have had a positive impact for some species that can re-establish, as the land is used less intensively than when farmed.
Most of our projects are built, at least partially, on greenfield land often in wilderness areas which can result in reductions in biodiversity at the project site.Impacts will occur from construction through to decommissioning, a period of 20-30 years for solar and wind projects and 30 or more years for hydropower projects.
Most negative impacts are reversible as we actively work to avoid and mitigate irreversible impacts during the design phase. Scatec also has an obligation under the Equator Principles to restore sites at end of life to their previous state or better.
Biodiversity assessment during project planning includes mapping species that occupy or are near to the site that will be developed. The mapping methodology and types of assessments vary depending on the biodiversity risk. This is influenced by technology, habitat affected, proximity of known endangered species and size of the project. Results across power plants therefore can be used as an indication of the number of potentially species impacted but may not reflect actual species affected.
For example, some lower risk projects will have desktop assessments whilst higher risk projects such as solar plants in biodiverse areas and hydropower or wind projects will have on the ground surveys to identify actual species present. For wind projects specialist third party on the ground assessments are carried out for birds and bats, whilst for hydropower it may be fish, mammals, and plants.
Critically endangered species identified include:
879 IUCN Red List species of least concern with habitats in areas are identified in ESIAs or ESDDs. Projects that share an ESIA or species assessment due to close geographical proximity are not included in the total to avoid double counting.
Rodent numbers can increase at solar power plants due to predators avoiding the power plants. This can be a challenge as they can damage wiring and potentially reduce biodiversity.See more
Chemical solutions are available but often have negative environmental impacts.
In 2021 Scatec employed a third party to develop an environmentally friendly biological control programme for its Linde and Dreunberg solar power plants in South Africa. This involved installing 8 owl boxes at each site to encourage breeding of Barn Owls in addition to artificial perches from which they could hunt. The owls would then hunt rodents as well as discouraging them from moving freely about the site thus reducing their occurrences.
These were mounted in April 2021 and usage was analysed during a service of the owl boxes in December 2021. Analysis indicated that the project has been successful so far, with many of the boxes and perches being used by barn owls during the year. The impact on rodent numbers is difficult to ascertain over such a short period, but initial signs are promising with 74 rodents skulls recovered from owl pellets collected at the sites. The project will continue to run for the next 2 years whereafter it will be assessed and potentially rolled out to other projects where similar problems have been identified.
According to the third-party status report integrated pest management is a growing global trend, and the Scatec programme is at the forefront of this trend.
“Scatec’s rodent control programme goals were clear and simple – to establish a self-regulatory owl breeding to mitigate,
using biological control, the high rodent population at the sites”.