American Wind Wildlife Institute database project moves ahead

American Wind Wildlife Institute database project moves ahead

Centralized database will securely collect and analyze decades
of wind industry data to help reduce wildlife impacts

The American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) recently announced that its Research Information System (RIS), which is creating a centralized database to provide accurate analysis of wind energy wildlife impacts, has entered phase two of development.

Once completed, the group said, " … the RIS will be the most comprehensive wind-wildlife data management tool available to help wind industry companies, government staff, and wildlife stakeholders evaluate the impact of operating wind projects. AWWI anticipates RIS analysis and reports will have broad value and implications from product design and application, to landscape and impact assessment, through project siting and turbine operations."

“The RIS will provide analysis with a high certainty of accuracy by including data from thousands of sites,” said AWWI Executive Director Abby Arnold. “For the first time, comprehensive and uniform data analysis will be compared across multiple regions and species in one database.”

AWEA passed a resolution in support of the RIS at a 2011 board meeting. When the phase two announcement was made, AWEA Interim CEO Rob Gramlich commented, “This is an important step forward in using the vast amounts of data collected by the industry over the past several decades.  It will help inform future siting decisions to further improve these practices, and aid in reducing the industry’s already low impacts on wildlife and their habitats. Creation of the RIS is critical to increasing transparency of the industry's data, while protecting the confidentiality of commercially or otherwise sensitive information. Putting this data to work will enable the wind industry to achieve our goal of relying on the best available science in decision-making."

The RIS is being built for AWWI with technical support from Oregon State University’s Northwest Alliance for Computational Science & Engineering (NACSE). A prototype pilot was completed in late 2012, and the system has successfully integrated post-construction wildlife fatality data and literature. Now, in phase two, AWWI is approaching companies to highlight system functionality, review measures to protect proprietary data/limit liability exposure, and begin data collection. Following data collection, AWWI will select independent analysts to analyze the data.

Post-launch, the RIS will produce scientific reports and trend analysis to help answer queries about wind-wildlife impacts so government agencies, scientists, and conservationists can understand and predict wind-wildlife impacts, including:

– What is the overall avian and bat fatality rate at wind energy projects across the United States or by ecoregion, and what are fatality rates by species?
– Is there a significant correlation between fatality levels of a first and second year of fatality monitoring at individual projects?
– How do fatality rates compare among different fatality searching methods and different estimators, holding other variables as constant as possible?

The RIS will pioneer web-to-database interfaces on wind-wildlife data while ensuring one company will never see another’s proprietary data, AWWI said. “Our priority is to build the confidence of wind industry data providers and show that by giving access to anonymous data, we can securely service the needs of wind developer companies, analysts, and regulatory agencies,” said Dr. Cherri Pancake, NACSE Director.

AWWI’s RIS Task Force has ensured the interests of both industry and conservation stakeholders are represented, and all efforts are being guided by input from the RIS Task Force’s wind industry members.

AWWI will manage access to data in the RIS, and access by different users will be controlled through four independent portals:

– A company portal enabling individual wind energy companies to view only their data to validate data entry.
– An analyst portal open only to AWWI-selected analysts. Data visible in this portal will be anonymous, and no data will be linked to one company or project.
– A curator portal for AWWI to maintain the documents database.
– A public portal providing limited access to a searchable database of wind-wildlife literature and reports.

This multi-level database approach will allow AWWI to securely pull together data from wind industry companies and to share trend analysis with different groups who may have conflicting goals.


The American Wind Wildlife Institute combines the power of science with the voice of collaboration to facilitate development of wind energy that protects wildlife and reduces environmental impacts. AWWI was founded in 2008 by the wind industry, science/conservation agencies, and environmental organizations as a forum to solve the most challenging wind wildlife issues and responsibly promote wind energy. For more information visit www.AWWI.org.

Related articles:

In face of changing climate, major wildlife group calls for renewable energy, June 20, 2013
Fact check: 5 things the AP missed in its recent coverage of wind energy, May 14, 2013
Fact check: More misinformation from Bryce on wind and birds, March 25, 2013
Fact check: Spectator (U.K.) overlooks facts on wind power and wildlife, January 15, 2013
Fact check: FOX News article fails to put wind development in context, January 2, 2013
Fact check: CFACT's Driessen wildly off base on bird claims, December 24, 2012
118 sportsmen's and conservation groups urge Congress to extend wind tax credits, December 6, 2012
Wind-wildlife meeting highlights wind industry's proactive approach, December 3, 2012
Fact check: Voice of America article on wind and birds lacks context, November 2, 2012
Sage-grouse collaborative to fund two wind-related studies, August 13, 2012
Fact check: Wired story bypasses wind industry's efforts on bats, July 10, 2012
Opinion: Wind energy threat to eagles relatively low, June 26, 2012
Fact check: Bond bashes wind, mangles facts [UPDATED], June 19, 2012
American Wind Wildlife Institute releases white paper on eagles and wind power, May 25, 2012
Already following federal bird guidelines, wind co. says, March 29, 2012
Fact check: Bryce missteps on wind and birds, March 8, 2012
Colorado collaboration: Wind companies, conservation groups agree on wildlife best practices, February 6, 2012
The Fish & Wildlife Eagle Permit Rule: Our perspective, January 10, 2012
Wind power's impact on birds: modest, December 15, 2011
Bird fatalities at Laurel Mountain substation, November 9, 2011
Birds and wind: Bad news leads, good news in weeds, August 29, 2011
Fact check: Fox News off base on bird collisions, August 19, 2011
News story draws questionable conclusions from eagle collisions with old turbines, June 6, 2011
WINDPOWER report: Whooping cranes may avoid wind farms, more research ahead, May 25, 2011
Wind developer launches intensive avian monitoring program, May 23, 2011
AWEA files comments on "unworkable" U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service guidelines, May 19, 2011
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, AWEA, wind developers sign agreement to promote endangered species conservation, April 20, 2011
Wind industry backs research on bat concerns including White-Nose Syndrome, April 1, 2011
Wind turbine bird threat modest, January 18, 2011
Editorial: How serious is threat to birds?, January 5, 2011
Wind energy and birds: No double standard, September 9, 2009
Wind-wildlife group names first president, February 24, 2009



John M. Anderson is Senior Director of Siting Policy for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). In this capacity Anderson is an industry leader in the area of siting policy and advocacy, and guides the industry in addressing siting issues as they relate to wildlife, sound/health impacts, property values, visual and cultural resources, aviation, and radar. He has long been involved in some of the key siting challenges facing the industry, including issues related to threatened and endangered avian and bat species. Prior to joining AWEA, Anderson was Eastern Regional Manager of Environmental Affairs for BP Wind Energy where he was the senior environmental permitting and policy advisor responsible for the development of new wind energy projects in the eastern half of the U.S. as well as management of post-construction environmental issues at BP Wind’s operating facilities across the U.S. Anderson has a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management and a minor in Environmental Law from the University of Rhode Island and has over 20 years of professional experience in the areas of environmental analysis, planning, permitting, and regulation.

More in Uncategorized

Into the Wind provides the latest news and expert opinion from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

1501 M Street, NW, Suite 900 | Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 202.383.2500 | Fax: 202.383.2505

Sitemap | Privacy | Terms of Use

Copyright 2020 American Wind Energy Association. All Rights Reserved.