As renewable energy resources are increasing availability, there is evidence to suggest that the renewable alternatives have numerous ecological impacts that should be addressed before developers proceed to mass produce energy. Birds are particularly vulnerable to experiencing population decline as a result of mortality from collision with wind turbines and displacement from habitat in which the wind farms are developed. The presently used mortality rate is based on rates at individual wind farms rather than on a collective rate for wind farms along flyways. Additionally, the present mortality rate does not account for population declines related to loss of viable habitat or habitat connectivity during and after construction of wind farms, so the overall population declines are grossly underestimated. The goal of this study is to locate sites for new wind farms that will aid in the reduction of bird mortality resulting from wind farm development in the United States. To accomplish this goal I will perform a spatial analysis of the United States using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as an analysis platform. My analysis resulted in a preliminary siting tool that will address the conservation of birds by avoiding the important bird areas and protected areas while encouraging a multipurpose landscape. This tool can be used by the public, politicians and developers to make informed decisions about wind farm siting to reduce the overall ecological impacts birds while increasing the availability of renewable energy resources.
A Spatial Analysis for Ecologically Conscious Wind Farm Siting in the Pacific Northwest
Title: A Spatial Analysis for Ecologically Conscious Wind Farm Siting in the Pacific Northwest
June 01, 2017
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Academic Department: Environmental Studies
Moore, E. (2017). A Spatial Analysis for Ecologically Conscious Wind Farm Siting in the Pacific Northwest. Master's Thesis, Evergreen State College.