1 August 2023
With a growing portfolio of renewable energy projects across a diverse range of environments, we are always looking at ways to enhance our local ecosystems.
In collaboration with 3Bee, an innovative ecological technology company, we are proud to introduce CuBeeCo. This is a transformative project aimed to foster an environment where honeybees and wild pollinators can thrive by introducing a diverse range of high-nectar plant species at our Francaviglia solar project in Sicily, Italy.
Bees hold incredible significance for both human wellbeing and maintaining the delicate balance of our environment. Their role as pollinators for an extensive array of plants makes their preservation paramount for ecological stability.
Sadly, climate change looms as one of the greatest threats to these remarkable creatures. It not only disrupts their habitats but also leads to erratic weather patterns, causing a loss of synchrony between bees and the flowering plants they rely on.
To address these challenges, we engaged 3Bee, which used artificial intelligence to identify the most suitable plant varieties to maximise nectar availability at Francaviglia. With great care, the selected species were planted across 1.6 hectares of the 5.2-hectare site, with the objective of increasing the abundance of honeybees and other local pollinators in the area.
To assess the effectiveness of CuBeeCo, a monitoring protocol was implemented at the Francaviglia plant.
In April, 3Bee helped us to establish two hives to closely observe honeybee populations and gauge their response to the introduction of the high-nectar plants. Equipped with a HiveTech monitoring system, we have been able to track honeybee population dynamics, providing real-time data on hive health, productivity and behaviour.
An additional Spectrum monitoring system was deployed to track and monitor the presence, abundance and diversity of other wild pollinators. These insights have allowed us to evaluate the impact of the plant species that were introduced and measure the success of the project.
Since the installation of the hives, the monitoring data collected at the Francaviglia site has revealed immensely promising results. The HiveTech system consistently indicates positive hive health and behaviour, and the Spectrum system has recorded an approximate 10% increase in the presence of local pollinators compared to anticipated levels.
By leveraging the knowledge and insights gained from this initial installation, we hope to support a flourishing environment and conserve biodiversity across similar sites throughout Italy, with six potential locations in the pipeline.