The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Defenders of Wildlife hosted a free, nine-part webinar series, Wildlife & Wind Energy Webinar Series: Considerations for Monitoring and Managing Impacts, between August and November 2020. All webinars were recorded and are available on Tethys.
Webinar #2: Federal and State Perspectives on Environmental Review of Wind Energy and Wildlife
The wind energy-wildlife regulatory environment is diverse, with states often serving as important “laboratories” for piloting new policies and practices to meet both renewable energy goals and protect wildlife and habitat. From the federal perspective, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has issued the voluntary Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (WEGs), a tiered risk assessment approach for siting, operating and adaptively managing wind energy development and operation. In addition to the WEGs, some states have also published their own siting guidance. This webinar provided an overview of the WEGs from the USFWS before delving into state perspectives with a panel of agency staff from states from diverse regions of the country. The state agency panel discussed their permitting processes, opportunities for wildlife conservation, complications to successful and wildlife-mindful permitting, how they have worked through challenges, and where there is still room for improvement. In this interactive and participatory webinar, attendees asked the panelists questions to learn from their experiences, brainstorm how to improve conservation and development outcomes, and discuss potential solutions to persistent challenges.