Compensation and replacement measures: More than just an approval requirement

23. Mai 2024

Operators of renewable energies must keep the compensation and replacement measures functional for the operating life of their farms. If the compensation measures do not comply with the approval, there is a risk of high fines and, in the worst case, even the closure of the plant. „Unfortunately, the motto in many wind farms is out of sight out of mind,“ says Björn Rohde-Gartmann, team leader for nature and species conservation at wpd windmanager. „There is sometimes a perception that compensation and replacement measures are a one-off commitment that is completed once the wind farm is commissioned.“ But this is not the case.

The specialist knows what he is talking about. At wpd windmanger, he and his department currently oversee around 1,600 measures with an area of around 15,600,000 m². The range is wide and extends from orchard meadows or the protection of old trees to the creation of ponds or pools to the creation of green forests or dust bathing areas. Over 260 of the supervised measures are particularly sensitive, as they involve species protection measures. And the trend is rising. „The requirements are constantly growing. This also increases the workload and complexity for us,“ explains Rohde-Gartmann.

Monitoring the measures

The range of tasks is extensive. wpd windmanager takes on the recording and identification as well as the monitoring of the measures. The company also handles the restoration or official acceptance on site.

„Many of our customers are wind farm operators. But other operations manager also engage us because they don’t have the necessary resources themselves,“ says Rohde-Gartmann.

wpd windmanager uses GIS-supported programs to carry out well-founded and objective assessments regarding the condition of the compensation measures. The software can be used to determine at an early stage whether the respective measures require special maintenance, whether management contracts and conditions are being adhered to, or whether and what action is necessary to prevent failure.

Compensation & replacement measures repowering

However, it is not only the loss and the associated costs that should be an incentive for wind farm operators. The condition of the compensation areas can also be a decisive factor beyond the approximately 20-year operating period. „If the measures are in good condition, they can be partially taken into account for later repowering,“ says Rohde-Gartmann. In Germany this is made possible by the 2022 amendment to the Federal Nature Conservation Act.

Another reason to take a closer look at the compensation & replacement measures and to make adjustments if necessary. This will not only please the licensing authority, the operator and the operations manager, but also the black stork, the red kite and the bat.

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