Wildlife & Energy Development
As the United States shifts to a more climate-friendly system of power generation, the footprint of energy development across the landscape is expanding. Sometimes referred to as "energy sprawl," this infrastructure is increasingly being sited on lands that provide important wildlife habitat. Concerted efforts are needed now to help ensure that clean-energy facilities are built expeditiously but in a way that does not destroy or fragment wildlife habitat more than necessary. The need to build power generation and transmission facilities can also be minimized by reducing energy demand through more efficient use of energy. In short, when it comes to preserving our intact landscapes, how we use energy is as important as where we decide to locate our energy facilities.
Below are our approaches to achieving the above objectives:
- Promoting smart renewable energy development. We support efforts to inform government energy and land management policies that govern the siting of utility-scale solar, wind and geothermal facilities, as well as related transmission lines. We also support efforts to raise awareness of the implications of expanded bioenergy development on wildlife and to inform government bioenergy policies. We currently fund our renewables siting work through a grant to Defenders of Wildlife (working in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, and The Nature Conservancy) and our bioenergy work through a grant to the National Wildlife Federation and the Southern Environmental Law Center.
- Increasing energy efficiency in the buildings sector. Our efforts to reduce energy demand focus on increasing energy efficiency in the buildings sector. This sector accounts for 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption and is an attractive target because it offers some of the least-costly options for reducing energy demand and associated emissions. We support the City Energy Project, a joint effort of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation.