Amman, Jordan, February 23, 2017—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today unveiled an innovative study designed
to reduce the risks that wind farms pose to wildlife in Jordan, part of
efforts to support the development of renewable energy and other sustainable
infrastructure in the region.
The study - the first of its kind in Eastern
Europe, Middle East, and North Africa - lays the foundation for wind-energy
projects in Jordan to comply with international best practices in biodiversity
and encourage more sustainable investments. Wind power is a vital source
of domestic electricity in a country heavily reliant on expensive – and
polluting – foreign fuel.
“In Jordan and the wider region, wind power
is becoming an increasingly important source of electricity because it's
climate-friendly and cost-effective,” said Ahmed Attiga, IFC’s Regional
Head of Operations in the Middle East and North Africa. “When we financed
the first such project in the country, we quickly saw that industry expansion
could risk impacting the animals and birds that live near or fly past these
facilities. So we set about developing and coordinating a plan to address
IFC, one of the largest renewable energy
investors in the world, has played a key role in the development of Jordan’s
power sector, solving regulatory and environmental constraints, financing
several major projects, encouraging private investment, and pioneering
innovative financing models.
The study highlights practical steps that
wind farm operators can take to protect bats and 13 species of birds, including
raptors such as the Steppe Eagle, Egyptian Vulture and Eastern Imperial
Eagle. The suggestions are based on expert analysis of the migratory and
resident bird populations in Jordan, which sits on the Rift Valley and
Red Sea, the second largest flyway for migratory birds in the world.
Key proposed measures to minimize the impact
on birds include identifying wind-farm layouts with the least impact on
known flight paths, monitoring threatened bird species during the operations
phase of the projects, and shutting down turbines when birds are flying
at heights where they may collide with rotating turbines. The study, the
Tafila Region Wind Power Projects Cumulative Effects Assessment, is available
IFC has invested in nearly 7 gigawatts of
hydropower, nearly 4 gigawatts of wind power and nearly 2 gigawatts of
solar power in emerging markets globally. In Jordan, IFC was a financier
and mandated lead arranger of the country’s first commercial-scale renewable
energy project, the 117 megawatt Tafila wind farm.
In addition to investment, IFC provides support
and solutions globally to expand the development of sustainable infrastructure.
In Laos, Myanmar and Nepal, IFC is supporting the expansion of sustainable
hydropower by working with officials to strengthen the sector through improved
policy and regulation; and by building private developers’ knowledge on
how to lower environmental and social risk. In Brazil, IFC is working with
multiple stakeholders on an Amazon initiative to adopt a more systematic
approach to common challenges such as territorial planning, governance,
social participation in decision making processes, and anticipatory measures
for the preparation of localities.