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Research Highlights

November 2016

The Ultimate Wind Energy Research Assistant: WREN Hub

Research from around the globe exploring wind energy impacts on wildlife

The Ultimate Wind Energy Research Assistant: WREN Hub
Users can filter by land-based or offshore wind, technology type, and even animal species including marine mammals, fish, bats, and sea turtles.

One source of energy that covers nearly 100 percent of the world is wind. According the DOE’s Wind Vision Report, wind can be a viable source of renewable electricity in all 50 states by 2050. Don’t forget that renewable wind energy emits no greenhouse gas emissions. So what are we waiting for?

Both land-based and offshore wind energy must address the issue of wildlife interactions to be truly environmentally friendly. Although widespread land-based wind energy projects exist around the world, challenges regarding wind and wildlife interactions persist. For example, some bats and birds are at risk for fatal collisions with wind turbines. Before widespread installation of offshore wind energy projects can take place, researchers need to know more about the potential effects these devices have on wildlife and the environment.

To speed deployment of wind energy, PNNL marine scientists and IT specialists added wind energy-oriented material to the Tethys searchable database—a robust online resource for marine energy and wind energy effects on wildlife. The wind portion of the database, called WREN Hub, provides users with quick access to information about the environmental effects of wind energy devices and systems. The database includes maps and over 1,800 scientific papers on wind and wildlife interactions. WREN Hub users can easily search for scientific papers and reports pertinent to that area of research. Data are compiled using advanced filter and keywords.

WREN (Working Together to Resolve Environmental Effects of Wind Energy) Hub also serves as a platform for collaboration and outreach. Wind energy stakeholders meet quarterly via webinars so scientists can present their latest research. WREN Hub users can connect with practitioners, link to related databases, and look at regulations that govern wind development around the world. White papers on the interactions between wildlife and wind energy are being prepared and will be distributed broadly. The objective for this free and open resource is to ease some of the challenges wind energy operators face, and increase the safe, widespread deployment of renewable energy worldwide.

WREN is an initiative under the International Energy Agency Wind Committee and is led by the U.S.; collaborators also come from eight other countries including France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

PNNL Research Team: Andrea Copping, Nikki Sather, and Jonathan Whiting

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