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Task 34 Work Plan and Objectives

Between October 2020 and September 2024, WREN will:

  1. Identify key stressors and receptors, relevant methodologies, and technologies used in impact assessment studies, recommended practices to resolve existing and potential environmental barriers to deployment, and emerging issues associated with the evolution in wind turbine technology, deployment locations, and scale of development.
  2. Aggregate and synthesize data on high-priority issues, and coordinate among international collaborators to disseminate information to multi-sectoral decision makers. To further broaden international outreach and participation, WREN will increase its engagement with non-WREN nations, particularly those from emerging markets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
  3. Ensure the global community has access to the technical readiness of existing monitoring and mitigating technology solutions, their state of development, and related research on their effectiveness.

Task 34 Work Packages

WREN consists of four work packages, with many of the activities being conducted simultaneously. A summary of each work package, including planned deliverables, is described below.

Work Package 1: Maintenance & Enhancement of Tethys (Formerly WREN Hub)

Tethys was developed in 2009 to 1) facilitate the exchange of information on the environmental effects of wind and marine renewable energy technologies, and 2) serve as a centralized location for the collection of and access to knowledge on land-based and offshore wind energy regulatory structures, environmental effects, effective monitoring practices, strategies for mitigation, and other relevant information and research being conducted around the world. Tethys will continue to be enhanced and updated on a regular basis, increasing the functionality as deemed appropriate and expanding the inclusion of relevant materials.

In addition to providing access to relevant literature and products developed within WREN, Tethys also provides information on key contacts, events, and other social media outreach forums as deemed appropriate. Components of Tethys will continue to be updated and expanded during the extension term of this task.

Approach: Expansion of and enhancements to Tethys will follow a recently developed outreach and engagement plan and consist of the following elements:

  • Continual updates of new research papers and other media as they become available
  • Enhancements to Tethys functionality, as appropriate
  • Expansion and use of community functions of Tethys through links to and from external sites, comments page, and engagement with ongoing functions such as webinars
  • Annual or biannual peer review of Tethys content and functionality by WREN members and other experts, consistent with the approach used in Phase I and II.

Deliverables: The following are deliverables or activities related to Tethys:

  • Curated and expanded collection of papers, reports, and other media on Tethys
  • Quarterly and annual metrics on use of Tethys through Google analytics and other sources, designed to support continued expansion and use of Tethys
  • Increased functionality, including improved searches, filters, and tags
  • Results of annual peer review and actions taken to address peer review comments.

Work Package 2: Evaluation and Establishment of Current and Future Priorities

Conduct a horizon scan, or a systematic assessment, of global priorities related to the environmental effects of land-based and offshore wind. The results from the horizon scan will inform WREN priority topics and activities for years 2–4.

Approach: WREN will develop a repeatable, inclusive, and transparent horizon scan to elicit feedback from a diverse group of wind energy and wildlife experts. The stakeholder input will be scored and refined to establish a set of persistent and future priorities. WREN will use this list of priorities as a basis for developing state-of-the-science deliverables in subsequent years (see WP3).

Deliverables: A final report and webinar highlighting the methods and results of the horizon scan.

Work Package 3: Outreach and Engagement on the State of the Science

WREN will continue to actively engage the stakeholder community using targeted outreach materials designed for specific audiences. Outreach materials will focus on specific topics identified by WREN members for the first year and the horizon scan in subsequent years (see WP2). In the first year, WREN will focus on specific activities associated with 1) raptors and 2) seabirds. Key existing activities may include: Science Summaries, webinars, Tethys Blasts, Tethys stories, and presentations by WREN members at conferences and workshops.

Approach: Outreach and engagement activities will continue throughout this phase. Activities will include the following, but may be tailored and sequenced to the specific topic and topic goals:

  • Develop brief (i.e., one to two page) Science Summaries designed to facilitate easier access to information and provide an overview of key findings. Science Summaries will center on the best-available science related to specific species, technology, or recommended practices.
  • Organize and host webinars to disseminate information to the various stakeholder groups. WREN will continue to host two to four webinars each year. Topics will include both land-based and offshore applications, species focus, tools and models, and other relevant topics. Each webinar will include at least two geographic perspectives on the subject.
  • Identify opportunities to convene expert forums on specific research questions. Forums will involve an invited panel of experts to discuss an unresolved topic. A summary of our current understanding and next steps to address the issue will be developed based on the panel discussion.
  • Organize two virtual or in-person member meetings each year. When possible, co-locate meetings with international conferences on wind energy and wildlife to learn more about the current research findings and engage with other experts regarding WREN-related activities.
  • Lead or participate in training sessions designed to educate targeted stakeholder groups, including but not limited to the wind industry, regulatory agencies, academia, researchers, and the general public on current methodologies or technologies used for monitoring and mitigating wind energy and wildlife interactions. WREN will lead or participate based on topic. Trainings could be virtual or in person.
  • Lead or participate in workshops to further explore concepts relevant to the wind energy and wildlife community. WREN will lead or participate based on topic. Additional workshop attendees will be made up of subject matter experts, regulators, and wind energy industry representatives. Workshops will result in a proceedings or manuscripts on the topic.
  • Provide a biannual update for each country’s wind energy and wildlife activities via a webinar. WREN will present these updates on an annual basis and post the recordings on Tethys.

Deliverables: Deliverables will be based on a specific topic area and topic goals, and may include one or more of the approaches listed previously.

Work Package 4: Monitoring and Mitigation Technology and Methodology Database

This effort will establish and maintain a database of technologies and methodologies for monitoring (e.g., acoustic detectors, cameras) and mitigating (e.g., smart curtailment, deterrents) the environmental effects of wind energy.

Approach: WREN members will search available literature and contact technology providers to obtain information on existing recommended practices for monitoring and mitigation. For a given technology, the database will include information on the developer (e.g., name, contact, website), the technology readiness level, receptor and stressor intended for use (e.g., ultrasonic acoustic deterrents to reduce collision risk), phase of development (e.g., construction or operations), relevant literature, applicability across sectors, jurisdictions, species, and cost. The database will be developed and available on Tethys, and updated biannually, to expand the number of relevant materials.

Deliverables: A curated database on Tethys with an annual report and webinar detailing updated content, and quarterly and annual metrics on use through Google analytics and other sources.

Expected Task 34 Results

WREN activities are designed to generate the following results:

  • Maintain and enhance Tethys to facilitate easy access to literature and relevant information on the environmental effects of wind energy development on a global scale.
  • Expand international collaboration within WREN and among non-WREN nations and collaborative efforts with other organizations.
  • Disseminate scientifically based research and recommendations to government regulatory organizations and wind developers/operators through various outreach materials and approaches.
  • Establish and maintain a global monitoring and mitigation database as a reference of available strategies for reducing environmental effects of wind energy development.
  • Evaluate whether another 4-year extension is warranted based on the existing state of wind energy and wildlife impacts knowledge.
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