In the wind power industry, impacts on birds and bats continue to be major issues. While wind generation has become more bird-friendly, with larger, slower-moving rotors and improved site selection criteria, the industry will have to continue to innovate with new imaging technology and operational changes to minimize avian mortalities. (See Advancing Avian Detection on the key issues and developments.)
E & E has managed gopher tortoise relocation for two Florida solar power developers, and expects these ancient reptiles will be found on many more solar projects elsewhere in the Southeast. (For more on gopher tortoises and utility-scale solar, see New Regions, New Issues.)
E & E advises its clients to engage early and often with neighbors and other stakeholders. This has always been important, but as wind, solar, and associated transmission grow at such a fast pace, it’s becoming more critical. “The need to engage the public and get a social license for the project is trumping the typical resource and technical issues that we tend to analyze,” said E & E’s transmission sector lead, Dan Belin. (See Small Projects Are Big Trend.)
Economics will drive renewable energy growth under Trump, representing a transition away from policies supporting a mandate driven push market toward a customer driven pull market.