The REN Chair in Biodiversity was created in July 2015 in the context of a protocol set between CIBIO – Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (University of Porto), REN (Redes Energéticas Nacional – Portuguese Transmission System Operator), and FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology). It aims to develop a scientific research programme and knowledge transfer activities, at the University of Porto, on biodiversity impacts caused by electric grids. The main research lines of the REN Biodiversity chair include understanding the negative and positive impacts of transmission power lines, the evaluation of the effectiveness of mitigation and compensatory measures, and the identification of good management practices that maximize potential positive impacts.
Besides the scientific component, REN Chair also contemplates scientific consulting to REN through counselling and supporting in the context of Environment Impacts Assessment (EIA) studies, as well as analyses of biological and technical data collected by REN in the last 15 years. This way, researchers and REN technicians have worked together to solve practical questions with relevance for REN activities (i.e. reduction of bird mortality and mitigating outages caused by birds).
Financial support for those activities is provided by REN (75%) and FCT (25%). The first protocol among the three involved entities had a duration of 3 years (2015-2018), having been extend for the 2018-2020 period.
With the aim of maximizing the accumulated experience and knowledge from this important initiative, a new Chair (financed by REN and FCT) was submitted, in 2020, and a protocol between CIBIO-InBIO/BIOPOLIS and REN (financed by REN) was established, for the period 2020-2023. This allowed the continuing of the research and knowledge transference activities on this wide thematic line of the interactions between biodiversity and power lines.