Leaders of the Wind Wildlife Research Fund announced that the Fund, a new wind industry-led initiative to pool investment for wind-wildlife solutions, raised $828,000 to support and implement seven priority research projects in 2019. By investing in key research, the Fund aims to develop solutions to wildlife challenges, focus conservation efforts, expedite wind energy siting and permitting, and reduce costs.
Bald Eagle By mishaleppert, Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0
The seven projects will be completed in 2019 by leading scientists managed by the American Wind Wildlife Institute , an independent nonprofit collaborative science organization that is the secretariat of the Fund. Project results will undergo peer review in the fall of 2019 and will ultimately be submitted for publication.
“I am excited to see the wind industry and collaborators share and implement what we learn from this vital research,” said Miguel Prado, CEO of EDP Renewables North America
The projects address challenges that scientists, industry, and conservationists have identified as highest-priority. For bats, projects focus on refining smart curtailment practices for bats and enhance understanding of bat activities and fatalities. For eagles, studies aim to refine curtailment and fatality estimates. For grouse, new information on movement and response of lesser prairie-chicken at a wind facility will be assessed.
“These priority research projects were identified and selected to address information needs for wildlife and monitoring in relation to wind energy impacts,” said Joan Heredia, Senior Director of Environmental Permitting for Enel Green Power North America and Vice Chair of the Fund.
According to Garry George, Renewable Energy Director for the National Audubon Society, “climate change is the biggest threat to birds. In addition to the critical reduction of the emissions that cause climate change, the companies that founded and fund the Fund are committing to conservation outcomes for birds and other wildlife with an investment in good science and research to inform siting and operation of turbines. That voluntary investment is an investment in a sustainable wind energy future for wind and wildlife that other energy industries would do well to adopt.”
The 2019 research projects and plans for 2020 were announced to more than 400 attendees at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Project Siting and Environmental Compliance Conference held recently in Albuquerque, New Mexico, by Fund Chair Kyle Boudreaux, NextEra Energy Resources.
30 companies representing 54 percent of installed wind energy projects in the U.S. have joined the Fund, including Apex Clean Energy, Avangrid Renewables, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Clearway Energy, ConnectGen, DTE Energy, Duke Energy Renewables, EDF Renewables, EDP Renewables, Enel Green Power North America, ENGIE, IdentiFlight, Innogy, Invenergy, Leeward Renewable Energy, MAP Energy, NextEra Energy, NRG Systems, Orion Renewable Energy Group, Pattern Energy Group, Portland General Electric, Puget Sound Energy, RES (Renewable Energy Systems), Scout Clean Energy, Siemens Energy, Southern Power, sPower, Tradewind Energy, Vestas Americas, and the American Wind Energy Association.