Over two dozen companies in the U.S. wind power industry have signed up so far to back a new fund facilitating research that will speed development and deployment of innovative solutions related to wind and wildlife.
The news was announced at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront Hotel in Saint Paul, Minn., before an audience of 400 wind and wildlife researchers, regulators, conservationists, and industry leaders gathered for the national Wind Wildlife Research Meeting held every two years.
The new Wind Wildlife Research Fund will be housed within the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI), an independent, nonprofit organization created by leaders in the wind industry and conservation and science communities to better understand wind energy’s risks to wildlife and create solutions. The Wind Wildlife Research Fund currently has 28 companies participating and organizers hope to reach 35 corporate participants in 2019.
“I’m excited. This really is unprecedented,” said Kyle Boudreaux of NextEra Energy Resources and chairman of the Fund’s leadership group. “The only thing that would limit this is participation, and it’s off to a great start.”
The Wind Wildlife Research Fund continues the wind industry’s proud legacy of care for wildlife. Increased reliance on wind power results in cleaner air, water and other environmental benefits. Even with relatively low impacts, the wind industry continues its commitment to work with conservation partners to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to wildlife and their habitats.
Industry leaders were briefed on progress in creating the Fund during the American Wind Energy Association’s Clean Energy Executive Summit in Colorado Springs. There Tristan Grimbert, CEO of EDF Renewables, and Greg Wolf, CEO Leeward Renewable Energy, celebrated AWWI’s 10th anniversary and described the new effort.
“The Fund is a tremendous step forward, and further evidence of the wind industry’s commitment to responsible wind development,” Grimbert said in Colorado. “A significant amount of important research about how to make wind energy safer for wildlife has been done since AWWI was founded in 2008, but collectively, we recognize that there is more to know, and we are pleased to support this initiative.”
The Fund will be used to directly support research projects that will advance understanding of technologies and strategies that can help reduce or avoid those interactions. Investments in the Fund will come from wind energy companies, supplemented by public funding and with support from other conservation-minded entities.
“This first-of-its-kind fund will make it possible to continue to expand wind energy development while also protecting and conserving wildlife populations,” Wolf said at the Clean Energy Executive Summit. “It speaks volumes about the wind industry’s values that so many companies have stepped up to invest in the Fund. I encourage everyone to participate, because doing so will help position wind energy to prosper and thrive in the years to come.”
Participating so far in the Fund are: American Wind Energy Association, Apex Clean Energy, Avangrid Renewables, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, Clearway Energy Group, ConnectGen, DTE Energy, Duke Energy Renewables, EDF Renewables, EDP Renewables, Enel Green Power, Engie, Identiflight, Invenergy, Innogy Renewables, Leeward Energy, MAP Energy LLC, NextEra Energy Resources, NRG Systems, Pattern Energy Group, Portland General Electric, Puget Sound Energy, RES Americas, Siemens Gamesa, Southern Power, sPower, Tradewind Energy, and Tri Global Energy.