Renewable energy development and biodiversity protection can go hand in hand.
Stepping stones for change
Better Energy is on a green journey to change the way our society is powered. We want to take full responsibility for the land we use in a wider context. Solar is unique as a renewable power source because it can combine clean energy production and native species and habitat conservation. With careful research and planning, solar plant sites can help restore and conserve nature, increase biodiversity and support healthy ecosystems. Solar plant sites can serve as important stepping stones to help reverse the trend of declining biodiversity.
From vision to impact
Better Energy’s new initiative for greater biodiversity was rolled out as a pilot project in the Blangslev solar plant in Denmark. The landscaping of Blangslev to support greater biodiversity was carefully planned in context of the surroundings. After a thorough local environmental study, seven distinct biodiversity ’points of impact’ were incorporated in the solar plant site to ensure nature has good opportunities to spread and thrive over the years.
1. The fruit grove
The focus of this area is fruit and berry-bearing trees and shrubs, which are planted in groups around the area. The vegetation offers a food source and habitats for birds and other wild animals and insects. On selected areas, a mix of wild, native species are sown.
2. The overlook
A small hill was made to create an overlook of the solar plant and the surrounding countryside. Piling up large stones on the sunny southern slope of the hill creates a warm microhabitat for cold-blooded animals, insects and plants that thrive in the heat. Shrubs and trees of hardy species are scattered throughout the area.
3. The lowland
The existing wet conditions in the lowland have been strengthened by removing soil from the lowest areas. This enhances the wet biotope that would have existed here without the land drainage that was required for agriculture. In the spring the lowland will be periodically flooded, creating a perfect habitat for local amphibians to breed. Native perennials have been planted here, but space is also left for the local flora to emerge.
4. The forest garden
The forest garden is an experimental approach to agroecology which combines a natural forest and an orchard, with an underbrush of mostly edible wild plants. The forest garden is a multilayered garden with trees, shrubs and herbs. The forest garden also provides food and habitats for wildlife like birds, insects and other smaller animals.
5. The flower edge
Flower seeds are sown along the upper edge of the solar park. This enhances the appearance of the solar park for visitors and passers-by who will see flowers in bloom. The flower seed mixes are carefully blended to ensure continuous flowering throughout the year. The flowers not only have an aesthetic purpose but also provide nectar for bees and other insects.
6. The grassland
A grassland was established under the power lines. This grassland provides food and shelter for insects and birds from the open farmland, such as partridges and skylarks. The soil has been turned over so that the nutrient poor soil beneath the nutrient rich topsoil emerges on the surface. In the nutrient poor soil, a mix of hardy flowering species have been sown.
7. The forest
A light, open forest edge has been re-established on the western side of the existing forest reserve. The structure of the forest edge has been established with intermediate young trees and bushes to create a gradual transition from the open grassland to the dense forest. This structure protects the existing forest climate and makes it a preferred habitat for many species due to the combination of both light and shelter.