Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Adani wind power project adopts hi-tech system to protect bird life

By: Staff Writer

March 17, Colombo (LNW): The government has started the acquisition of lands, most of which are privately owned, for the Adani-backed 250MW Mannar Wind Power Project (MWPP), its final environmental impact assessment (EIA) report states.

The report crucially emphasises the need for strong measures—even proposing a sophisticated radar system to signal when the turbines need to be shut down—to mitigate the effect of the project on Mannar’s rich and diverse birdlife.

This is especially important because “higher bird risk collisions than predicted” have occurred in the adjoining Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB)-run Thamabapawani Wind Power Project, with birds striking the transmission lines, it warns.

The Power and Energy Ministry awarded the construction and operation of the MWWP to Adani Green Energy Sri Lanka Limited (AGESL) as a build, own, and operate (BOO) project. The approximate investment is US$ 420 million

The 250MW Adani Wind Power Project in Mannar is creating headlines, raising eyebrows and causing much controversy.

While environmental experts list out the potential short and long-term dangers the project can cause to the unique ecosystems in Mannar Island, the renewable energy experts aren’t convinced enough of the gravity of these dangers, claiming that a high level of exaggeration is involved.

The involvement of the private sector Indian business giant has caused much concern among the masses since the common understanding is that the private business entities are heavily profits-oriented and won’t pay much attention to ecological and social impacts.

The activists point out how, if the permission granted and the project continued, Sri Lanka will have to pay way above the market rate for a single unit of energy.

In Adani Wind Power Project, the energy agreement duration is believed to be 25 years and throughout that period, it is alleged that Sri Lanka will have to pay 4 US cents, as opposed to 2 US cents which is the market price for a single unit. In a nutshell, for 25 years, Sri Lanka will have to buy power, generated via natural resources of our own, from India for double the price.

Since Mannar is the southernmost destination of the Central Asian Flyway of the migratory birds’ route, its ecological and avifaunal importance cannot be underestimated.

As bird experts point out, establishing a wind farm essentially blocking the routes wired in the migratory birds’ DNA will have some detrimental effects on their wellbeing and it will take some time and many bird collisions and deaths for the birds to ‘re-programme’ themselves to evade the new dangers in their winter destination which they visit only once a year.

Declining numbers of migratory birds isn’t an issue exclusive to Mannar. Over the years, the number of flamingos that visit Bundala has dropped slowly but steadily.


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