Research Focus Areas
PIER Environmental Research - Terrestrial Resources and Energy
California is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world and supports more unique plants and animals than any other state in the U.S. The Energy Commission strives to maintain a reliable, efficient, and affordable energy system in a manner that protects the state's biodiversity. Energy regulators and stakeholders benefit from having sufficient scientific information and tools to facilitate the permitting process while reducing biological impacts
The Terrestrial Resources focus area of PIER-EA promotes research in the following areas:
- Reducing wildlife interactions with utility structures and wind turbines.
- Reducing environmental impacts of renewable energy.
- Energy facility siting support.
This research aims to:
- Guide the energy siting and development process.
- Test innovative mitigation and management strategies.
- Study environmental impacts and protect the state's biodiversity.
Featured Research Issues and Publications:
Reducing wildlife interactions with utility structures and wind turbines
Wildlife interactions with utility structures and wind turbines can result in electrocutions and collisions. Such interactions can result in negative impacts to birds and bats, costly power outages, permitting delays, and violations of state and federal laws.
- Range Management Practices to Reduce Wind Turbine Impacts on Burrowing Owls and Other Raptors in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, California
- Suggested Practices for Avian Protection on Power Lines: 2006
- A Roadmap for PIER Research on Methods to Assess and Mitigate Impacts of Wind Energy Development on Birds and Bats in California
- Evaluating Preconstruction Sampling Regimes of Bat Activity at a Wind Energy Development in Southern California
- Annotated Bibliography of Avian Mortality from Collision and Electrocution
- See More Avian And Bat Related Reports
Reducing environmental impacts of renewable energy
Attaining California's renewable energy and bioenergy goals can have serious implications to biodiversity due to habitat type conversion, forest thinning, and large land requirements, particularly in sensitive habitats such as desert environments.
- Minimizing Conflicts between Desert Tortoises and Energy Development Projects in the Mojave Desert
- Mapping Habitat Distributions of Desert Rare Plants
- Biomass to Energy: Forest Management for Wildfire Reduction, Energy Production, and Other Benefits
- Potential Positive and Negative Environmental Impacts of Increased Woody Biomass Use in California (Publication available by October 2011)
- Cumulative Biological Impacts Framework for Solar Energy Projects in the California Desert
- See Additional Fact Sheets
Energy facility siting support
Research to develop guidelines, best management practices, and tools to facilitate analysis and mitigation related to siting various types of energy facilities is needed to help regulators and decision makers conduct balanced environmental analyses and make informed decisions.