By: Anna ILLARIONOVA | Sustainability Projects & Practice Sharing at Enel | November 9th, 2017

Enel Romania provides services to 2.8 million customers in three key areas of the country: Muntenia Sud (including Bucharest), Banat and Dobrogea, accounting for one third of Romania’s electricity distribution market. A common problem that Energy Distributors face is that white storks use low-voltage pillars as a nest support, causing electrocution for birds, damages for the network, and electricity cuts. In order to address this issue, a pilot project was launched in summer of 2017 by the Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR) in partnership with Enel Romania. The project aims at carrying out a regular census to correctly assess the population of white storks in Romania, collecting data about the location of stork nests and taking measures to protect both the birds and the electric grids. In this respect, SOR launched a unique mobile app called “Look, a stork!” available to all smartphone users that allows easy data collection about white storks localization, numbers, but also about the state of electric pillars and nests. In general the estimated population of white storks ranges from 180,000 to 220,000 pairs across Europe, while in Romania the population of the species accounts for 4,000 – 5,000 pairs.

The pilot stork census campaign carried out with the help of “Uite Barza!” app lasted less than one month (July,6th–31st) before birds migration to Africa but its results exceeded the initial expectations: more than 2,800 nests were identified, out of which 1,070 new nests, unrecorded at the previous census. The vast majority of recorded stork nests were identified on electric pillars out of which 1,567 nests on pillars without supports and 1,208 nests on pillars with supports. Based on the information gathered from the app users, Enel electricity distribution companies in Romania can map risk areas and take measures to protect both the breeding pairs and the electric grid by providing support for nests and power line insulators. This also directly benefits the consumers, as hopefully there will be less cases of interventions on the power line due to the presence of the birds. Next year the employees of other companies present in Romania will also be encouraged to download the app and contribute to this citizen science program.

Since 2010 Enel electricity distribution companies in Romania have installed more than 654 support platforms for stork nests and over 3,800 insulating sheaths on the electricity pillars, in order to avoid the electrocution of birds and prevent damages to the grids. Enel in Romania strives for growing its business in a sustainable way, sharing value with the community of which it is part. Thus, the company improves its services, reducing network interruptions, involves employees and mitigates operation and maintenance risks while focusing on ecosystem protection and local socio-economic development engaging local partners.

VALUE FOR BUSINESS

Mitigating potential risks and reducing network interruptions due to bird related accidents, increasing clients’ loyalty and attracting new ones by improving services, protecting the biodiversity in the area while decreasing maintenance costs, engaging employees in volunteering and raising their sustainability awareness and digital literacy.

VALUE FOR STAKEHOLDERS

Assessing the stork breeding population and determining conservation measures for bird species protected by law, raising public awareness on environmental protection, engaging local community in volunteering activities, improving services for existing clients, increasing community’s digital literacy by disseminating a new app.

SVI_Stork Census.pdf