The Nature+Energy project is founded on the idea that wind farms have the potential to provide so much more than renewable energy. If managed properly, the biodiversity on onshore wind farms has the potential to not only take even more carbon out of the atmosphere, but also to improve the resilience of ecosystems to climate change and to enhance the provision of ecosystem services, such as pollination, water filtration and habitat provision. There is much potential to enhance nature’s contributions to people through improving our understanding of how habitat quality, diversity and connectivity can be enhanced by wind farm land-management for conservation.
Nature+Energy will develop new ways of accounting for the value of nature on wind farms. We will design a state-of-the-art environmental monitoring system that will revolutionise how we measure and monitor biodiversity on and around wind farms. We will develop a sector-specific Natural Capital Accounts, Land-Management Decision Support Tools and Biodiversity Action Plans to facilitate the enhancement of biodiversity and help to mitigate the effects of wind farms on key species.
Finally, Nature+Energy will develop a programme for sector-specific industry-academia education and collaboration. Our graduate training and mentorship programme will be co-developed by industry and academia with the goal of building human capacity in natural capital accounting and management, and will be key in delivering the upskilling required to facilitate Ireland’s transition to a net-zero society and economy.
Nature+Energy is funded by MaREI, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, a consortium of Irish renewable energy companies and Wind Energy Ireland. Our renewable energy partners, The NTR Foundation, SSE Renewables, Energia, ESB, EnergyPro, Ecopower, Greencoat and Ørsted, manage and supply just under 2.5GW (nearly 60%) of the Republic of Ireland’s onshore wind energy.
What is Natural Capital Accounting?
When you look at a wind farm, what do you see? Turbines, hardstands, met towers and a substation. All of this can be thought of as capital – assets that make the wind farm a productive enterprise.