The impact of a 'trough' Concentrated Solar Power facility on birds and other animals in the Northern Cape, South Africa

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Ryan, Peter G en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Ralston-Paton, Samantha en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Jeal, Corey en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2017-09-01T14:16:51Z
dc.date.available 2017-09-01T14:16:51Z
dc.date.issued 2017 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Jeal, C. 2017. The impact of a 'trough' Concentrated Solar Power facility on birds and other animals in the Northern Cape, South Africa. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25010
dc.description.abstract The environmental impacts of solar power generation and particularly Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) are not well understood. There have been reports of birds injured and killed by concentrated solar radiation at power 'towers' and from collisions with mirrors at both tower and 'trough' facilities. This study assesses the impacts of a utility-scale 50 MW 'trough' CSP facility - Bokpoort CSP Power Plant - in the Northern Cape, South Africa. To assess the changes in functional and structural changes in bird communities, bird counts in the solar fields (mirror arrays) were compared with transects from rangelands adjacent to the CSP plant. Invertebrates were sampled with sticky and pitfall traps adjacent to the power block, in the solar fields, and in the rangeland landscape to assess changes in invertebrate communities. There were significant changes in bird distribution across the landscape with more species richness and two orders of magnitude greater abundance in the rangeland compared to the solar fields. Fewer invertebrates were caught, but with a greater taxonomic richness in rangeland compared to the power block and solar field. The facilities' evaporation ponds created novel wetland habitat for birds; 23 species were recorded that would have been absent from the area prior to construction, including three breeding species. The solar fields were surveyed for bird injuries or fatalities over 3 months; only eight dead birds were found, all but one was too old to determine the cause of death (>1 month); the remaining carcass likely died from a mirror impact. Western Barn Owls (Tyto alba) made up half of the mortalities. Biases in mortality estimates due to searcher efficiency and scavenger removal were substantial only for small birds. Twenty-one animals (3 reptiles, 12 mammals, 6 birds) likely drowned in the evaporation ponds after being unable to escape. The recorded mortalities were very low in comparison with similar studies on CSP facilities. No threatened or endangered species were killed. Overall, the facility had a low impact on bird populations, but the drowning risk posed to animals by evaporation ponds requires mitigation. The negative impacts observed could be minimised through careful site selection of solar facilities and careful design and mitigation considerations particularly with regard to evaporation and water ponds in arid areas such as the Northern Cape. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Conservation Biology en_ZA
dc.subject.other Ornithology en_ZA
dc.title The impact of a 'trough' Concentrated Solar Power facility on birds and other animals in the Northern Cape, South Africa en_ZA
dc.type Master Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters
dc.type.qualificationname MSc en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Jeal, C. (2017). <i>The impact of a 'trough' Concentrated Solar Power facility on birds and other animals in the Northern Cape, South Africa</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25010 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Jeal, Corey. <i>"The impact of a 'trough' Concentrated Solar Power facility on birds and other animals in the Northern Cape, South Africa."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25010 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Jeal C. The impact of a 'trough' Concentrated Solar Power facility on birds and other animals in the Northern Cape, South Africa. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, 2017 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25010 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Jeal, Corey AB - The environmental impacts of solar power generation and particularly Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) are not well understood. There have been reports of birds injured and killed by concentrated solar radiation at power 'towers' and from collisions with mirrors at both tower and 'trough' facilities. This study assesses the impacts of a utility-scale 50 MW 'trough' CSP facility - Bokpoort CSP Power Plant - in the Northern Cape, South Africa. To assess the changes in functional and structural changes in bird communities, bird counts in the solar fields (mirror arrays) were compared with transects from rangelands adjacent to the CSP plant. Invertebrates were sampled with sticky and pitfall traps adjacent to the power block, in the solar fields, and in the rangeland landscape to assess changes in invertebrate communities. There were significant changes in bird distribution across the landscape with more species richness and two orders of magnitude greater abundance in the rangeland compared to the solar fields. Fewer invertebrates were caught, but with a greater taxonomic richness in rangeland compared to the power block and solar field. The facilities' evaporation ponds created novel wetland habitat for birds; 23 species were recorded that would have been absent from the area prior to construction, including three breeding species. The solar fields were surveyed for bird injuries or fatalities over 3 months; only eight dead birds were found, all but one was too old to determine the cause of death (>1 month); the remaining carcass likely died from a mirror impact. Western Barn Owls (Tyto alba) made up half of the mortalities. Biases in mortality estimates due to searcher efficiency and scavenger removal were substantial only for small birds. Twenty-one animals (3 reptiles, 12 mammals, 6 birds) likely drowned in the evaporation ponds after being unable to escape. The recorded mortalities were very low in comparison with similar studies on CSP facilities. No threatened or endangered species were killed. Overall, the facility had a low impact on bird populations, but the drowning risk posed to animals by evaporation ponds requires mitigation. The negative impacts observed could be minimised through careful site selection of solar facilities and careful design and mitigation considerations particularly with regard to evaporation and water ponds in arid areas such as the Northern Cape. DA - 2017 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2017 T1 - The impact of a 'trough' Concentrated Solar Power facility on birds and other animals in the Northern Cape, South Africa TI - The impact of a 'trough' Concentrated Solar Power facility on birds and other animals in the Northern Cape, South Africa UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25010 ER - en_ZA


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