EDP Distribuição, in partnership with other bodies (universities, research centers, NGOs, government bodies, etc.) has developed and implemented a set of good environmental practices that have contributed to the continued improvement of the company's environmental performance.
We have been active in developing projects and implementing measures to protect biodiversity. In this context, the issue of protecting birdlife is particularly important.
Protection of birdlife
The first National Meeting on Electrical Lines and Birdlife took place in 1999, bringing together the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birdlife (SPEA), the National Association for the Conservation of Nature (Quercus A.N.C.N.), and the then Institute of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB). This meeting resulted in a partnership that sought to assess the problem of birdlife and its interaction with overhead power lines and propose ideas for minimizing its impact.
To this end, a monitoring committee, the CTALEA (Technical Commission for the Monitoring Overhead Power Lines) was established, which in 2003 was responsible for the signing an agreement (Birdlife Agreement). This agreement was concluded between EDP Distribuição, the ICNF (Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests), Quercus and SPEA, the main goal of which was to conduct a prospecting study that would make it possible to establish a hazard index of a set of power lines regarded as dangerous to birdlife across a sample covering 20% of the Classified Areas (AC). In addition to the prospecting study, monitoring studies have also been carried out to assess the effectiveness of the corrective measures implemented.
In 2013, this partnership, in the form of agreements, formed the LPN (League for Nature Protection), while maintaining the company's path toward finding and implementing increasingly innovative methodologies, both in terms of technical solutions and in terms of studies. In this area, the production of risk maps by target species should be highlighted. This tool replaces the previous power line-based survey model, which makes possible the more sustainable management of the process. By being selective in the protection of species with a higher conservation status, it also increases efficiency in the effort to correct and plan new lines.
During the nesting period, the white stork uses electricity distribution grid posts for nesting. The species’ proximity to live components, adjacent to net supports, may result in electrocution. Because of their characteristics, electricity grid posts promote false security for the thousands of stork pairs that try to build their nests on them every year.
Given the need to reconcile the quality of technical service levels with the preservation of the white stork, EDP Distribuição conducts a number of voluntary interventions on the overhead electricity distribution grid each year, with a view to removing or transferring nests identified as being potentially dangerous to the species.
In general, nest interventions consist of removing the nest built on the grid post and the consequent installation of nesting deterrent devices (turbines, umbrella, asymmetric arrows, symmetric arrows) on the post. In addition, and whenever technically possible, the removed nest is transferred to dedicated support with associated nesting platform placed in the vicinity of the electricity grid posts. Such removal or transfer intervention shall be subject to prior advice and agreement from the ICNF upon request and upon the issue of necessary licenses.