Solar panels adjacent to an elementary school in Antelope Valley, located on the western tip of the Mojave Desert. Photo by Dave Lauridsen.
A maintenance worker services turbines at Kittitas Wind Farm near Ellensurg, WA. Photo by Cameron Karsten.

For wind and solar, we site it right

Renewable energy infrastructure that looks out for habitat while clearing the air.

Wind and sunshine are inexhaustible, and that’s good news for clean energy. As demand grows for renewables, we’re helping ensure that clean energy is green—protecting our environment while powering our communities.

When it comes to wind turbines, where to place them is a bigger question than you might expect. Not just any flat land will do. We want utilities to consider: Is the proposed facility near bat caves? Does it disrupt habitat for grassland birds like prairie chickens? Likewise, building utility-scale solar farms can have environmental impact on hundreds of acres. Ideal locations may seem flat and lifeless, but can also be vibrant ecosystems.

We’re bringing science to bear, helping utilities minimize impact as they harness nature’s power. Compiling data on land use, airspace and geography and overlaying that with maps of critical habitats and ecosystems, we identify the smartest sites for new infrastructure.

A single utility-scale solar array can be as large as downtown San Francisco. Installation can strip vegetation and disrupt habitat for animals like the desert tortoise of the Mojave Desert. In this extreme environment, we created a model of solar energy development, working with the Bureau of Land Management to identify an already-degraded, thus less vulnerable, area. Ultimately smart solar power in the Mojave will power more than 9 million homes, benefiting communities and critters alike.