Twenty of the nation’s top science-based conservation and environmental groups and wind energy companies have created a national institute to facilitate timely and responsible development of wind energy while protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat. The institute will do this through research, mapping, mitigation and public education on best practices in wind farm siting and habitat protection.
The American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) will begin with an operating budget of $3 million for its first two years. To carry out its mission, AWWI will focus on conducting research, promoting sustainable development, funding biodiversity protection and educating the public about the interplay between wildlife and wind turbines.
“Addressing global climate change demands a higher level of collaboration between different sectors and interests,” says Jan Blittersdorf, CEO of NRG Systems and AWWI vice chair. “Development of clean, renewable wind energy and wildlife protection need not be mutually exclusive goals.” [This statement is a clear acknowledgement that these goals are in fact mutually exclusive. –Ed.]
Scientific, conservation and wind industry leaders believe that wind energy must play an important role in combating climate change. Understanding that wind power is already one of the cleanest and most commercially viable energy sources, AWWI will help the industry serve as an example for other energy sectors by proactively addressing potential biodiversity impacts as wind energy is more widely deployed.
The seven nonprofit founding organizations of AWWI, which have members in all 50 states, represent more than 4.3 million members nationwide. These founding groups include: Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists.
The remaining 13 founding AWWI members are wind industry businesses, including: AES Wind Energy, BP Wind Energy, Babcock & Brown, enXco, Clipper Windpower, E.ON, GE Energy, Horizon Wind Energy, Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA, Nordic Windpower, NRG Systems, Renewable Energy Systems Americas and Vestas Americas.
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