Siting renewable energies so it is both low-carbon and sustainable for wildlife populations
Golden Eagle Photo: Nathan Rupert
Climate change is one of today’s most significant threats facing birds and people alike, and renewable energy will be a substantial part of the solution to global warming. Across the US and in California in particular, renewable energy have been rapidly developing and expanding in recent years. But with the growth of the industry must also come careful and strategic planning.
Audubon consistently advocates that new projects must be sited right. The idea behind so-called “smart siting” is that power plants and transmission lines must be located and designed using methods that avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts to the fullest extent possible. Smart-siting really follows a few simple and intuitive steps: identify and avoid important wildlife areas; within a project footprint, identify and avoid areas that will pose the greatest risk to wildlife; place power plants close to people so less transmission infrastructure is needed; and develop power plants on previously-disturbed land to protect habitat.
Audubon California and our allies have the opportunity to push renewable energy development down the right path in a state that is leading the country in setting renewable energy goals. What happens in California is being watched across the world. We can show that low-carbon energy can be developed in a way that is economical and sustainable for local wildlife and habitats.
The resources below offer a more detailed explanation of smart-siting, as well as considerations for different types of renewable energy. Further resources for Audubon chapter members can be found by visiting the Moore Charitable Foundation Energy Siting Resource Center on Audubon Works.
A primer to wildlife-friendly renewable energy in California in 3 graphics
The plan, also known as DRECP, will protect our deserts while fighting against climate change.
Our electricity grid is in need of upgrades to fully support renewable energy.
From rooftop panels to concentrated towers, there's more to solar than you might guess.
While some wind farms have earned a bad rep, wind energy can be sited to greatly minimize threats to birds.
The earth's energy can help fight climate and revitalize the Salton Sea area.
Audubon California Newsletter comes to your inbox monthly with breaking news and important conservation updates from our state.
Take a breather with birds. Join us for a 4-week experiential webinar series with Audubon California & Weaving Earth from March 6 - 30, 2023.
Help secure the future for birds at risk from climate change, habitat loss and other threats. Your support will power our science, education, advocacy and on-the-ground conservation efforts.