Biodiversity builds ecosystem resilience

A high biodiversity of fauna and flora ensures the ability of ecosystems to resist permanent structural change and in turn maintain ecosystem services, which are of fundamental importance to human survival and the economy.

Scatec Solar and biodiversity

Installing solar plants requires land clearing, which might have an impact on biodiversity by causing a loss of habitat and disturbance of species. Biodiversity considerations are therefore an important part of environmental and social due diligence and baseline studies. If an impact is unavoidable, we implement measures to minimise impact and restore biodiversity.

For all projects, site clearance is implemented in a sensitive manner to minimise the impact on fauna. Project-specific measures are identified for the removal of vegetation, such as directional clearing, and avoiding certain periods so as to not affect nesting birds. Relevant measures during the construction and operations phases include, for example, fencing off storage areas and keeping lighting to a minimum.

Habitat enhancement and the creation of new conservation areas are options that will be considered whenever impact cannot be fully mitigated

Biodiversity in Mocuba, Mozambique

Snakes make up a significant proportion of the middle-order predators, as they play an integral role in maintaining balance in the food web. Without snakes, the numbers of pest species such as small rodents that damage crops and carry disease, can increase to unnatural levels, and the predators that eat snakes struggle to find food. Therefore, removal of snakes can have unforeseen effects on an ecosystem.

Through our commitment to protect biodiversity, on-site faunal monitoring concluded that snake species richness and density were found to be high on and around site, especially considering venomous snakes.

“We discovered that 75% of the snakes on site were found to be venomous, which increases the risk of severe snakebite incidents and snakes being killed out of fear”, says HP Van Heerden, Environmental & Social Advisor, Scatec Solar.

To mitigate incidents the following initiatives were implemented:

  • We provided training to working personnel during the construction and operational phase by increasing the understanding of the environmental role snakes play and debunking cultural myths of snakes through snake awareness training.
  • A selected number of employees also received venomous snake handling to ensure the safety of humans and snakes on and around the solar plant.
  • The initiatives implemented resulted in personnel being more aware of and equipped to deal with incidents involving snakes, thereby conserving the predators found on our solar plan.

Click here to see an overview of common snakes of Mocuba.