Large Utility Scale Solar-Wildlife Interactions: Hurdles and Opportunities
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM PDT
Location: Industry Trends, Booth #157, Level 2, Venetian Expo Hall
The Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute (REWI) is a partnership of leaders in industry, wildlife management agencies, and science and conservation organizations who through science and collaboration, accelerates the responsible deployment of renewable energy to mitigate climate change and protect wildlife and ecosystems. As a leader in the large-scale solar energy-natural resources space, REWI provides thought leadership, sound science, and outreach to further our understanding of the hurdles and opportunities related to natural resources and solar siting and permitting.
This panel features a discussion about the most pressing natural resource topics related to solar development and operation. REWI conducted surveys and interviews of various stakeholders and identified hurdles and opportunities that will accompany the deployment of hundreds of GW in the next decade. Stakeholder concerns include potential habitat loss and fragmentation, water and sediment retention (i.e., erosion and stormwater management), and wildlife interactions with infrastructure (i.e., direct and indirect impacts on wildlife). The good news is that through proactive due diligence, pre-construction planning, and additional researcher investments, these impacts can be mitigated (avoided, minimized, and offset), and there are opportunities to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem function and services (e.g., soil health, carbon sequestration, grazing and crop production [“agrivoltaics”] and pollinator supply) at solar facilities in certain regions. The panel will summarize the current state of the science related to these hurdles and pose research opportunities that could provide data to combat misinformation on these topics.