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Renewable Energy Siting

Wildlife-Friendly Renewable Energy

The ongoing transition from fossil fuel combustion to harnessing renewable resources from the sun and wind has resulted in a cleaner, brighter future for wildlife and habitat, which are facing increasing threats from a rapidly changing climate. New technology and rethinking the way the United States electric grid operates has led to advancements in renewable energy that would have been hard to imagine even ten years ago. However, there are costs associated with any form of energy generation, and it is important to ensure that the development of renewable energy sources avoids, minimizes and compensates for any impacts on wildlife.

Wind farm photo by Richard Frasier via Wikimedia Commons 

More Wind Energy, More Conservation

Wind energy is growing rapidly across the US. Several states, including Texas, now generate more than 10% their electricity from wind, and Iowa generates over 30%. As wind power expands, NWF works to ensure that development occurs responsibly and in a timely fashion while protecting birds, bats, and other wildlife. NWF partners with the American Wind Wildlife Institute, which brings together national conservation organizations, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and wind energy companies to accomplish that shared goal. AWWI advances the science needed for policy and practice, and fosters innovative "detect and deter" technologies and other tools and measures to protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat while siting and operating wind energy projects.

Reducing the Impact of Renewable Infrastructure on Wildlife

NWF supports an overarching landscape-level planning framework to ensure that renewable energy development, such as wind and solar, is designed in a manner that safeguards wildlife and sensitive lands while being cognizant of the need for such energy to be developed at the pace and scale needed to address the climate crisis.

New transmission lines and upgrades should avoid, minimize or effectively mitigate impacts to sensitive habitat and wildlife, and should be carefully planned, designed, and sited in order to efficiently incorporate renewable resources. Distributed generation, a grid that is able to support these systems, and energy efficiency should be encouraged wherever feasible in order to lessen the need for new transmission and new large scale energy generation projects.

Solar farm photo by Jonathan Potts via Wikimedia Commons

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