Threat to the Great Indian Bustard
- A Supreme Court appointed committee has recommended that to protect the endangered great Indian bustard, close to 800 km of proposed power lines in the Thar and Kutch deserts of Rajasthan and Gujarat should be rerouted or made to go underground.
- Despite a Supreme Court decision mandating the removal of low-voltage electrical lines Power companies and State governments don’t appear to have made any significant efforts to comply with them
- It is intended for the 7,200 km of overhead cables to transfer solar energy into the grid, although the birds have been harmed by the existing lines, dying through electrocution or collision with the lines. Only 150 of these birds remain, the most of them in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer.
What is the issue?
- These birds’ demise and the threat that power lines and renewable energy projects pose to them, prompted environmentalists to file a suit with the Supreme Court in 2019 asking for the undergrounding of all overhead power lines.
- Private and public power companies argued that moving all overhead lines underground would be costly and impractical and would significantly increase the cost of solar power, undermining India’s commitment to green growth.
- This argument was supported by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Bird Diverters – An Innovative Solution
- Installing “bird diverters”, which are flaps installed on power lines that work like reflectors and are visible to the flying birds from about 50 metres away, giving them a chance to avoid from the path of a power line.
- Bird diverters are, however, considered to be a stopgap measure, as they cannot entirely guarantee an end to bird hits.
Source The Hindu
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