Environment Impact Assessment - Wind Power (windfarm) on Birds in Vietnam

Location: Huong Linh (Quang Tri), Loi Hai; Phu Lac (Ninh Thuan), Vinh Loi (Bac Lieu), Soc Trang, Ba Tri (Ben Tre), Hon dat (Kien Giang), Ca Mau, Gia Lai
Sponsors: Multiple organisations (ADB, World Bank, etc.)
Years: 2017-2020
Collaborator(s) / Partner(s): ESIA, UPC, AFC

Birds and Wind Powers Projects

Wind power is a fairly new technology to Viet Nam; however, it is one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources. In recent years, numerous windfarm projects have been built and more are planned throughout Viet Nam, especially along the coastal zone in the central areas from Binh Dinh to Phan Thiet provinces and the coastal zone in the Mekong Delta. Operational windfarms may have adverse effects on avifauna, including:

  • Death through collision or interaction with turbine blades;
  • Direct habitat loss through construction of wind power project infrastructure; and
  • Displacement through indirect loss of habitat if birds avoid the wind power project area and its surrounding area due to turbine operation and maintenance/ visitor disturbance. Displacement can include barrier effects in which birds are deterred from using normal routes to feeding or roosting grounds

To measure potential risks to avifauna from the proposed windfarm, three parameters were surveyed: 

  • Species richness (species composition), this being the presence of birds at the project site and surrounding areas;
  • Surveys of both migratory and resident birds were carried out to support information for potential risk assessment; and
  • Species considered to be prone to collision with the wind turbines, with this being an important factor to evaluate how the proposed windfarm might affect each bird species.

Since 2017, we have conducted environment impact accessment of the wind power projects on bird assambleages from Quang Tri province to Ca Mau including Huong Linh (Quang Tri), Loi Hai, Phu Lac (Ninh Thuan), Chu Se (Gia Lai), Ba Tri (Ben Tre),Tran De (Soc Trang), Vinh Loi (Bac Lieu), Hon Dat (Kien Giang), Tran Van Thoi (Ca Mau).

Relevant Environmental and Social Standards and Guidelines

The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment consistent with international standards. WILDTOUR has advised that the relevant standards applicable to the project will be the World Bank Environmental and Social Framework. The World Bank Framework combines with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards (PS), in particular IFC PS6 Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources. 

IFC PS6 recognises three different types of biodiversity habitats: modified habitat, natural habitat and critical habitat. Modified habitat includes areas that may contain a large proportion of plant and/or animal species of non-native origin, and/or where human activity has substantially modified an area’s primary ecological functions and species composition. Natural habitat includes areas composed of viable assemblages of plant and/or animal species of largely native origin, and/or where human activity has not essentially modified an area’s primary ecological functions and species composition. Critical habitats area areas with high biodiversity value, including:

1.     habitat of significant importance to Critical Endangered and /or Endangered Species; 

2.     habitat of significant importance to endemic and/or restricted-range species;

3.     habitat supporting globally significant concentrations of migratory spe cies and/or congregatory species; and

4.     highly threatened and/or unique ecosystems;

5.     areas associated with key evolutionary processes; and areas associated with key evolutionary processes.