Birds and Clean Energy

Responsibly sited and operated clean energy will help protect birds from climate change.

Transitioning to clean energy reduces pollution, slows the rise in global temperatures, and provides the pathway to a more sustainable future. This is crucial for frontline communities and the hundreds of bird species that face devastating range loss and extinction due to climate change. That’s why Audubon supports utility-scale clean energy and transmission development.

Projects must be sited and operated with birds and people in mind. Thankfully, there are well-tested solutions informed by science that can be implemented to alleviate risks. Audubon works with clean energy developers, local communities, federal and state agencies, conservation partners, and other stakeholders to ensure the least impact on bird habitat and migration routes. 

The climate threat facing birds is urgent. To achieve a future where both people and wildlife thrive, we need to rapidly build out photovoltaic (PV) solar and onshore and offshore wind infrastructure – as well as transmission lines to bring that power to the people who need it. By advocating for responsible and community-centered planning, we can protect birds from the worst impacts of climate change while preserving the places we all need.  

100
Gigawatts of renewable energy generation and transmission responsibly sited by 2028
~75
Million homes powered by 100 GW
~340
Million people provided with power from 100 GW
Did You Know?
  • Audubon Washington helped lead state efforts to identify utility-scale PV solar siting locations that present the least conflict to wildlife and communities. 
  • An ultraviolet light-based system for transmission lines installed at Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary has dramatically reduced Sandhill Crane collisions.  
  • Audubon has worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on permits under the Endangered Species Act that avoid harm to California Condors at wind projects. 

What We're Doing

1
Engaging on the responsible expansion of renewable energy.
Staff advocate for policies, planning, and projects that effectively avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts on birds.
2
Calling for the rapid deployment of well-sited transmission.
To power a clean energy future, we need to scale up transmission capacity while implementing bird-friendly solutions outlined in our Birds and Transmission report.
3
Weighing in on enforcement of federal laws and permitting policies for bird species protected by them.
Improvements to clean energy permitting would strengthen bird protections under the Endangered Species Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Remember that Audubon depends on your support to do the conservation work that we do.

A New Study in Wyoming Will Test Whether Black Paint Helps Birds Avoid Wind Turbines

December 27, 2023 — The research aims to evaluate the effects of contrast painting on wind turbine rotor blades in the largest such study yet.

New Clean Energy Legislation Package Would Help Create a Safe, Clean Future for People and Wildlife

December 13, 2023 — The Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration Act would streamline clean energy and transmission expansion and fund impact studies on wildlife.

New BIG WIRES Act Would Help Achieve a Clean Energy Future for Birds and People

September 15, 2023 — “We have an urgent need to equitably and responsibly build out our nation's clean energy transmission infrastructure.”