How Clean Energy and Birds Can Coexist

David Yarnold. Photo: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

This post originally appeared on the Audubon website.

Clean energy—led by solar and wind power—is expanding quickly both in the U.S. and abroad, thanks to the economic opportunities they present as well as the momentum spurred by the recent Paris Agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy is an important way to rein in climate change and its harmful impacts on birds. At the same time, it’s crucial to choose locations for new solar farms, wind turbines, and other installations with consideration for the local habitat and wildlife.

In an op-ed for The Huffington Post, Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold explains how to balance these mutually important needs. He writes:

Great Egrets. Photo: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

As the need for renewable energy becomes more pressing, some of the fiercest duels in the West are now being fought over where to put power lines, wind turbines, solar farms and other needed energy development projects. There is so much at stake in the beautiful landscapes of a place like Colorado that we must be careful to strike the right balance in siting these types of infrastructure.

Thankfully, advocates for conservation and a commonsense approach to development now have a whole new range of tools to use in finding the best places for clean energy projects—tools they can access from their laptops and smartphones.

Smarter energy siting is the goal. That means more efficient projects that don’t waste money while preserving iconic landscapes that birds and other wildlife call home.

Additional Audubon Resources:

  • Click here to access Audubon’s study titled “Climate Threatens Birds Worldwide
  • Click here to watch an informative video on how climate change impacts birds in the Unites States

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3 Comments

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Interesting choice to bring on a barred, but not spotted owl. I couldn’t quite tell if his intent was to garner sympathy for the barred, which is about to be killed off, or whether they simply weren’t able to bring along a spotted.


Comment by Neil on January 28, 2016 11:59 am


Neil, there is no reference to spotted or barred owls in this post. Here is a link to Audubon’s page on barred owls: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/barred-owl


Comment by Sarah Gilliam on January 28, 2016 3:55 pm


And here is Audubon’s page on spotted owls: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/spotted-owl


Comment by Sarah Gilliam on January 28, 2016 3:56 pm


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