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Grazing, a tool to control vegetation under high-voltage lines

The Red Eléctrica Group has published a guide to extend grazing in RED, a pilot experience that the company is developing in Calahorra (La Rioja) to control the vegetation located under the electricity transmission lines through extensive livestock farming.

In collaboration with the University of Alcalá, the project “Assessment of ecosystem services derived from the management of vegetation in the electricity transmission network through grazing” and its practical application to the initiative “Pastoreo enRED en La Rioja”. The results have shown that the use of livestock in maintenance work on the electric power transmission network enhances the services of regulation, cultural and supply ecosystems and favors biodiversity and the well-being of society.

In addition, in order to ensure the availability of generational change with the necessary knowledge to facilitate the continuity of the good management of herds in extensive livestock farming and the conservation of the landscapes of our towns, Red Eléctrica has collaborated with the Campo Adentro Association in the edition 2020 from the School of Shepherds in Madrid. This school has the support of the State Federation of Pastoralist Associations and the El Boalo-Cerceda and Mataelpino city council (Madrid).

50 male and female students from among 130 applications received were selected to take the theoretical module; 30 of which also carried out practices in the field.

As a result of this work, the Practical Guide to Grazing in RED has been published, which summarizes the results of the project. The initiative, managed by the Riojan agro-environmental company Agrovidar and with the support of the Government of La Rioja and the Calahorra town council, incorporates technological innovation into grazing, since the state of the biomass is supervised with drones and the sheep are monitored It is done through GPS collars placed on some of them.

A pioneer in Spain, the project received a special mention in the Good Practice Award 2021 of the Renewables Grid Initiative platform for being a sustainable solution with a positive social and environmental impact; and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is considering its classification as a nature-based solution.

 

 

The objectives of this pilot project, pioneer in Spain, are:

  • Control the growth of the vegetation of the security road located under the facility by grazing sheep.
  • Contribute to the improvement of the natural capital of the surroundings of our facilities, helping to maintain the fertility of the soil and the conservation of biodiversity.
  • Contribute to generating new sustainable employment, establishing population and facilitating generational change.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in maintenance activities.
  • Incorporate applied knowledge and technology through GPS collars to the management of extensive livestock.

The results of the project have been:

  • 700 head of sheep have cleaned 13 Ha of the security street from January to November 2020, maintaining Red Eléctrica’s security standards.
  • Preparation and publication of a guide to facilitate the replicability of the project in other regions of the country.