David Douglas (Conservation Scientist) heads up a team looking into the effects of a wind farm on Golden plover Pluvialis apricaria, Sutherland, Scotland

Renewable energy campaign

We're calling for a renewables revolution in harmony with nature.

The impact of renewable energy

How we generate our energy has huge consequences for the environment and for wildlife.

We strongly support the UK and European commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting these commitments requires rapid deployment of low carbon technologies (particularly renewable energy) and the phasing out of fossil fuels, which are the main source of emissions in the UK and the EU.

In fact, energy generation accounts for almost 40% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, so decisions about power generation could have a large impact on the climate and biodiversity - for good or for worse.

That's why we strongly support renewable energy and other low carbon means of generating energy, such as carbon capture and storage. It's also why we've campaigned against new a coal power plant in the UK at Kingsnorth and Hunterston.

All renewable energy technologies can have impacts on wildlife and the environment if they are poorly sited and/or designed.

We therefore work to ensure that renewable energy is deployed at the scale and pace which is needed to meet the UK's climate commitments, but in a way which minimises environmental impacts. That means, for example, not building wind farms where they could damage important wildlife sites.

We will work with developers to help them avoid such impacts. For example, we worked closely with the developer of the Thames Array offshore windfarm. When they found an internationally important population of red-throated divers around the site they wanted to develop, we advised them to ensure the population was not threatened by the development. The developer responded so positively we were able to support their proposal in the end.

Where developers fail to account for our concerns, however, we will object. To date, we have had to place sustained objections on only 5.9% of windfarm proposals we have dealt with.

Download

A joint BirdLife Europe and European environmental bureau briefing on protecting nature in the delivery of energy infrastructure projects of common interest. Date: 7 October 2014. PDF, 620Kb

Connecting energy, protecting nature - Projects of common interest report

Putting nature at the heart of renewable energy development. PDF, 1.7Mb

Power for the planet

A BirdLife Europe report, with the support of the RSPB (BirdLife UK). PDF, 8.5Mb.

Meeting Europe's renewable energy targets in harmony with nature

A BirdLife Europe report, with the support of the RSPB (BirdLife UK). PDF, 1.1Mb

Meeting Europe's renewable energy targets in harmony with nature summary report