Discovering Clear Power Options in Jap Washington
This fall marked the launch of Washington State College’s Least-Battle Photo voltaic Siting challenge, which can determine areas in Jap Washington with the least potential for battle over the siting of large-scale photo voltaic vitality tasks. Audubon Washington led efforts to convey this course of to the state’s Columbia Plateau area, the place growing stress to fight local weather change by way of large-scale clear vitality tasks has been met with issues about ecosystem impacts. Now that the method is underway, Audubon is targeted on defending sagebrush birds and the habitat they depend on whereas pursuing insurance policies to assist speed up the deployment of responsibly-sited renewable vitality.
In 2019, Audubon Washington helped cross the state’s Clear Power Transformation Act (CETA), which requires state utilities to supply clients with 100% clear electrical energy by mid-century. It was one of the crucial aggressive clear vitality acts within the nation and led to a surge of latest proposals in Jap Washington’s shrub-steppe. This stunning and biologically various ecosystem is residence to birds just like the state-endangered Higher Sage-Grouse and different at-risk species that use open, arid lands just like the Sagebrush Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow, and Sage Thrasher. The world has seen an 80% loss in historic sagebrush habitat, and sadly Washington just isn’t the one place the place sagebrush birds are in danger. A brand new research reveals that 1.3 million acres are being misplaced yearly within the U.S.
“Local weather change poses a extreme risk to birds in Jap Washington, however the scale of proposed photo voltaic amenities may influence the state’s remaining sagebrush habitat,” mentioned Trina Bayard, Director of Fowl Conservation for Audubon Washington. “That is why we have been advocating for sensible siting and allowing practices and utilizing analysis to ensure that clear vitality growth doesn’t come on the expense of sagebrush birds and ecosystem well being.”
Audubon’s strategy to wash vitality in Washington is guided partially by outcomes from the Sagebrush Songbird Survey, a six-year group science challenge that generated subject information to assist construct new species distribution fashions for songbirds that depend on the habitat. This information is now getting used within the Clear Power Screening Instrument, a first-of-its-kind instrument developed with Audubon’s Clear Power Initiative (CEI) staff that brings collectively a spread of environmental datasets to evaluate how proposed clear vitality tasks may influence fowl and habitat sources within the Columbia Plateau. Audubon Washington and state chapters are utilizing the instrument to determine and advocate for challenge placement that avoids conflicts with birds and different ecosystem values.
With the least-conflict photo voltaic siting course of kicking off, Washington State College is participating Audubon and different stakeholders, in addition to tribes and key businesses, to make use of native enter and spatial information to provide maps and an related last report by June 2023. Seeking to the long run, Audubon Washington plans to proceed constructing on their clear vitality siting work by advancing sensible planning insurance policies and creating extra on-the-ground assist for responsibly-sited clear vitality tasks. “We’re happy with what we’ve completed to this point, and we see a wealth of alternatives forward,” mentioned Adam Maxwell, Senior Coverage Supervisor at Audubon Washington. “Our work is a shining instance of what’s potential in different states, as clear vitality siting turns into one of many key local weather points within the coming years.”
Go to Renewable Power and Birds to study extra about Audubon’s strategy to renewable vitality.