The Nature Conservancy
The Site Wind Right (SWR) analysis and online interactive map use GIS technology and >100 data sets on wind resources, wildlife habitat, current land use and infrastructure to help inform wind development siting decisions across 17 states in the Central USA. These states are known as the “Wind Belt” of the USA, accounting for nearly 80% of all existing and planned onshore wind development.
• Highlights areas with lowest potential for conflict, allowing impacts to be avoided to the maximum extent possible, thus saving time and resources
• Identified 1,000GW of available wind generation (equal to current US generation from all sources)
• Methodology can be applied in other sectors (e.g. grids) and anywhere in the world.
About this practice:
Amid a boom in US onshore wind development from the early 2000s onwards, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recognised the need to provide guidance and data on how to avoid impact on species and habitats. To streamline the development of RES infrastructure with nature conservation, they worked together with industry, government, environmental NGOs and landowners to develop the SWR tool. The open-source map and analyses – which are constantly updated – are accompanied by communication materials, including a business case showing benefits for corporations, which are used for outreach to continually bolster usage and awareness. TNC has developed a similar project for India and plans to expand the project to include solar potential and two additional states in early 2022.
This practice was the winner of the 2021 'Good Practice of the Year' award for the category of Enviromental Protection.