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A recording of the webinar is available by contacting

Translational science for renewable energy and its wildlife concerns: a synthesis of wind energy buildout, bat population ecology, and habitat constraints - Jay Diffendorfer (USGS), Anthony Lopez (NREL), Teresa Bohner (USGS), Charlie Labuzzetta (USGS), Megan Seymour (USFWS), and Aston Wiens (USGS)

Advancements in wind energy technology and declining costs, coupled with clean energy goals, signal substantial growth in US wind energy. However, this expansion raises concerns about impacts on wildlife, including bats, which die from collisions with wind turbines. Efforts to reduce these effects influence the location and operation of wind energy projects. Quantifying this bidirectional relationship has been intractable given challenges related to data access and methodological limitations. Scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with Powell Center support, are addressing this issue by developing an analytical framework combining power sector expansion models, ecological models, and considerations for land and wildlife management. This framework aims to enhance our understanding and management of renewable energy development while minimizing unintended consequences for wildlife and habitat.

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Jay Diffendorfer 

Jay Diffendorfer (Co-PI) is a research ecologist at the Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center.  He has worked on energy-environment issues since 2008, when he started at USGS.  His work includes national mapping of renewable energy infrastructure, understanding land cover and habitat change at energy facilities, integrating land cover change and environmental constraints into national projections of future wind and solar, and population level effects from wind on birds and bats. He recently participated in the International Energy Agency’s Technical Expert Meeting on Grand Challenges for Wind Energy and is member of the UN’s Convention of Migratory Species Wind Energy Task Force. 

Anthony Lopez (Co-PI) 

Anthony Lopez (co-PI) is a senior researcher in the Geospatial Data Science Group within the Strategic Energy Analysis Center. Lopez has co-founded several pivotal NREL research programs, including the National Solar Radiation Database and the Renewable Energy Potential model. Lopez’s recent research has been recognized at a national level and focuses on modeling wind supply with land use constraints—an emerging area of research in the clean energy transition. He has co-authored and contributed to congressional reports on emerging wind energy technologies and their siting constraints, which are illuminating pathways to achieving a decarbonized energy system. 

Teresa Bohner 

Teresa Bohner is now a Biologist at the USGS. She is interested in plant community responses to global change. She is interested in how individual or population level responses to the environment shape broad scale patterns like abundance and distributions. Her background is in population, and community ecology, as well as dendrochronology, and she has strong interest in ecological modeling. Her research is generally focused on forest responses to drought and water availability, but her work spans multiple contexts and study systems.


Charlie Labuzzetta 

Charlie Labuzzetta is a Post-doctoral Mathematical Statistician with the U.S. Geological Survey at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center. During his time with the USGS, Charlie has helped develop a Bayesian N-mixture model to estimate bat fatalities associated with wind turbine characteristics and placement in Iowa. He has also used his expertise in Bayesian modeling and computer vision to study invasive carp populations and movement in the Mississippi River, monitor riverine ice conditions via satellite imagery, and classify owl behavior in trail cam videos of nests. 


Megan Seymour 

Megan Seymour is a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Columbus, Ohio Ecological Services Field Office, where she has worked for the past 24 years.  Her primary duty is to implement various facets of the Endangered Species Act, including listing, consultation, recovery, habitat conservation planning, and delisting.  Megan has worked on many bat and wind power projects including the first habitat conservation plan for Indiana bats and wind power, and the Northern long-eared bat, tricolored bat, and Little brown bat Species Status Assessment wind power impact analysis team.   


Ashton Wiens 

Ashton Wiens is a Research Mathematical Statistician for the U.S. Geological Survey at the Geology, Energy, and Minerals Science Center. Ashton is currently involved in multiple energy and mineral resource assessments, species status and trend modeling for the North American Bat Monitoring Program, and he was involved in a species status assessment for three bat species in collaboration with the USFWS. Ashton is currently interested in multi-resource assessments and has furthered work in this area with Powell Center support by quantifying the mortality impacts to bats of wind facilities and integration into demographic and energy forecast models.

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