A group of over two dozen wind energy companies involved in the United States announced on Monday they were signing up to back a new fund which will facilitate research speeding the development and deployment of innovative solutions related to wind and wildlife.
Announced at the biennial national Wind Wildlife Research Meeting in Minnesota before an audience of 400 wind and wildlife researchers, regulators, conservationists, and industry leaders, the new Wind Wildlife Research Fund will be housed within the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI), an independent, nonprofit organization which was created to better understand the risks of wind energy to wildlife, and to create solutions to minimize said risk.
“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,” the Fund explained in its announcing press release. “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.” The new Wind Wildlife Research Fund currently boasts 28 companies participating, and organizers of the fund hope to increase that to 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.”
Currently, the Fund is made up of the following organizations spread around the world, but with business in the US: 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.
“The Fund is a tremendous step forward, and further evidence of the wind industry’s commitment to responsible wind development,” said Tristan Grimbert, CEO of EDF Renewables. “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.”
“This first-of-its-kind fund will make it possible to continue to expand wind energy development while also protecting and conserving wildlife populations,” added Greg Wolf, CEO Leeward Renewable Energy. “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.”
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