The deployment and operation of wind turbines present unintended environmental effects. For land-based wind energy, the focus is primarily on collision risk, during the operational phase, to certain species of bats and raptors. Offshore wind energy development may pose related risks for bats and birds but also impact marine mammals and deep-water flora and fauna during construction. To achieve renewable energy production goals, it is necessary to fully understand and, in certain situations, mitigate these effects. Therefore, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is using engagement and research to address environmental concerns—which will be showcased in an upcoming webinar presented by our experts.
In this webinar, Cris Hein will highlight engagement activities for the environmental portfolio and discuss several projects aimed at validating cost-effective minimization measures for bats. John Yarbrough will present results on classifying biological observations from thermal video data using machine learning. This work helps provide a better understanding of the timing, conditions, and behavior of wildlife interacting with wind turbines. Eliot Quon will present on the development of atmospheric and wind power plant flow models that pair flight behavior to predict risk to golden eagles at two spatial scales. This research will help inform siting decisions as well as curtailment responses to eagle presence. Rebecca Green will discuss the portfolio's stakeholder engagement efforts relative to offshore wind energy, including the U.S. Offshore Wind Synthesis of Environmental Effects Research and the Working Together to Resolve Environmental Effects of Wind Energy (WREN) Horizon Scan. Through these and other projects, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory strives to facilitate and support the coexistence of renewable energy development and the environment.