STRIX is operating its BIRDTRACK Radar system in one of Egypt's largest wind farms, preventing the mortality of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds that cross the Red Sea each year.
BIRDTRACK was developed in 2009 by STRIX and it is a radar based solution that avoids bird mortality by selectively shutting down turbines at wind farms subject to operation under special environmental restrictions as a result of intense bird migratory flux or the presence of endangered species.
The Gabal el Zayt Wind Farm (200 MW) on the Red Sea coast in Hurghada is operating since 2015 and is co-financed by the European Union, German Government funds and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The value of this public investment exceeds 200 M€.
The area where this wind farm was built is overflown annually by hundreds of thousands of soaring birds on spring and autumn migration periods. This creates a conflict between energy production and bird conservation since operating wind turbines can cause bird mortality through collisions with the blades.
These impacts are often difficult to mitigate, and temporary turbine shutdown on demand is the most effective way to reduce soaring bird mortality.
The radar detects and tracks birds approaching the wind farm. With this data, the collision risk is assessed and turbines can be selectively shutdown. Birds can fly safely through the wind farm and, after this, the turbines restart.
Ricardo Tomé, STRIX’s Scientific Director says: "This project has been a great challenge. Despite this area being overflown annually by hundreds of thousands of soaring birds, we have the perception that the number of fatalities was very reduced, and we are now waiting for the final data for an accurate determination. The wind turbine shutdown was very effective, resulting in residual loss of energy production. We can say that these first two years of project have been a success. "