At Sempra Energy, we are committed to protecting and preserving biodiversity in the areas where we do business, and have restored or protected more than 13,000 acres of land. We work to meet or exceed applicable laws and regulations related to biodiversity.
In 2015, we developed and released a companywide biodiversity policy that articulates how we will integrate biodiversity considerations and work to protect wildlife during the planning, decision-making, construction and operation of energy facilities, balancing the importance of protecting sensitive habitat with our needs as a business.
Sempra U.S. Gas & Power reduces biodiversity impacts by judiciously selecting locations for development where impacts are less likely to occur. Its solar projects are built on previously disturbed land or in designated energy zones, and are located near existing transmission lines. For its wind projects, the subsidiary sites turbines away from sensitive habitat such as wetlands and streams, and limits the use of overhead lines to minimize impacts to birds and bats.
Prior to construction of the Energía Sierra Juárez wind facility, located in the mountains of La Rumorosa in Baja California, Mexico, Sempra International’s IEnova subsidiary collaborated with the San Diego Zoo on a multiyear study to better understand the flight patterns and territories of the California condor and the golden eagle along the U.S.-Mexico border near the facility site. Mexico-based Instituto de Ecología (INECOL) also conducted studies to assess the flight and migratory patterns of other birds and bats in the area. Armed with the results of these studies, IEnova is working to minimize operational impacts to wildlife.
Sempra International’s Luz del Sur utility owns and operates a 100-megawatt hydroelectric plant in the Cusco Region of Peru. The plant started commercial operations in September of 2015. In order to assess the impact of the facility, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was prepared prior to construction. The EIA covers several aspects of plant construction and operation, including climate, air quality, noise levels, hydrology, water quality, geology, land use and biodiversity. The EIA identified over 100 species of wildlife within the direct impact area, including four protected animal species. Now that the facility is operational, Luz del Sur monitors different environmental aspects to comply with statutory requirements and commitments under the EIA.
SDG&E and its partners have preserved and restored habitats for several of Southern California’s endangered and threatened species. These include the San Dieguito wetlands project, which restored over 160 acres of coastal tidal wetlands to provide habitat for Belding’s savanna sparrow, the snowy plover, the endangered California least tern, and the light footed clapper rail; and the Sunrise Powerlink mitigation projects, which will enhance and restore more than 2,600 acres of streams, wetlands and upland habitats for the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher, the endangered least-Bell’s vireo, the southwestern willow flycatcher, the arroyo toad and the Peninsular bighorn sheep, as well as many rare plant species.