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Title: A preliminary assessment of avian mortality at utility-scale solar energy facilities in the United States

Abstract

Despite the benefits of reduced toxic and carbon emissions and a perpetual energy resource, there is potential for negative environmental impacts resulting from utility-scale solar energy (USSE) development. Although USSE development may represent an avian mortality source, there is little knowledge regarding the magnitude of these impacts in the context of other avian mortality sources. In this study we present a first assessment of avian mortality at USSE facilities through a synthesis of available avian monitoring and mortality information at existing USSE facilities. Using this information, we contextualize USSE avian mortality relative to other forms of avian mortality at 2 spatial scales: a regional scale (confined to southern California) and a national scale. Systematic avian mortality information was available for three USSE facilities in the southern California region. We estimated annual USSE-related avian mortality to be between 16,200 and 59,400 birds in the southern California region, which was extrapolated to between 37,800 and 138,600 birds for all USSE facilities across the United States that are either installed or under construction. We also discuss issues related to avian–solar interactions that should be addressed in future research and monitoring programs.

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) - Office of Solar Energy Technology (SETO) - SunShot Initiative
OSTI Identifier:
1392278
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Renewable Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 92; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0960-1481
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
avian mortality; ecology; impact assessment; renewable energy; solar energy

Citation Formats

Walston, Leroy J., Rollins, Katherine E., LaGory, Kirk E., Smith, Karen P., and Meyers, Stephanie A. A preliminary assessment of avian mortality at utility-scale solar energy facilities in the United States. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/j.renene.2016.02.041.
Walston, Leroy J., Rollins, Katherine E., LaGory, Kirk E., Smith, Karen P., & Meyers, Stephanie A. A preliminary assessment of avian mortality at utility-scale solar energy facilities in the United States. United States. doi:10.1016/j.renene.2016.02.041.
Walston, Leroy J., Rollins, Katherine E., LaGory, Kirk E., Smith, Karen P., and Meyers, Stephanie A. Fri . "A preliminary assessment of avian mortality at utility-scale solar energy facilities in the United States". United States. doi:10.1016/j.renene.2016.02.041.
@article{osti_1392278,
title = {A preliminary assessment of avian mortality at utility-scale solar energy facilities in the United States},
author = {Walston, Leroy J. and Rollins, Katherine E. and LaGory, Kirk E. and Smith, Karen P. and Meyers, Stephanie A.},
abstractNote = {Despite the benefits of reduced toxic and carbon emissions and a perpetual energy resource, there is potential for negative environmental impacts resulting from utility-scale solar energy (USSE) development. Although USSE development may represent an avian mortality source, there is little knowledge regarding the magnitude of these impacts in the context of other avian mortality sources. In this study we present a first assessment of avian mortality at USSE facilities through a synthesis of available avian monitoring and mortality information at existing USSE facilities. Using this information, we contextualize USSE avian mortality relative to other forms of avian mortality at 2 spatial scales: a regional scale (confined to southern California) and a national scale. Systematic avian mortality information was available for three USSE facilities in the southern California region. We estimated annual USSE-related avian mortality to be between 16,200 and 59,400 birds in the southern California region, which was extrapolated to between 37,800 and 138,600 birds for all USSE facilities across the United States that are either installed or under construction. We also discuss issues related to avian–solar interactions that should be addressed in future research and monitoring programs.},
doi = {10.1016/j.renene.2016.02.041},
journal = {Renewable Energy},
issn = {0960-1481},
number = C,
volume = 92,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {7}
}