USFWS Approves Avangrid Renewables’ Innovative Condor Conservation Plan
USFWS issues permit after approval of conservation plan to minimize and mitigate potential impacts at California wind farm.
Portland, Ore. — June 16, 2021 — Avangrid Renewables, LLC, a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), confirmed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has accepted the company’s innovative conservation plan for California condors and issued an incidental take permit for the Manzana Wind Power Project in Rosamond, Calif. This precedent-setting conservation plan will help fund condor recovery efforts at a facility operated by the Oregon Zoo.
“We appreciate the hard work and partnership of both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Zoo to develop this conservation plan,” said Dr. Laura Nagy, director of permitting and environmental affairs for Avangrid Renewables. “This underscores our commitment to responsible renewable energy generation and complements the already robust protections in place for condors and other birds at our operating wind power facilities.”
The funding included in the conservation plan will support the rearing of six condors, a number determined by a population viability analysis to mitigate the impacts of two potential adult condor fatalities over the 30-year permit period.
Avangrid Renewables strives to minimize risks to wildlife across its fleet. The company’s operating wind facilities feature multiple technologies and procedures that significantly reduce risks to wildlife. These include high-precision optical technologies to identify protected bird species and evaluate their flight paths, and other detection and deterrence systems.
At Manzana, a system specific to California condors is already in operation. The USFWS has outfitted most free-flying condors with a VHF radio transmitter, GPS transmitter, or both, to track their locations. This provides the opportunity to detect and respond to potential collision risk by curtailing turbines and assessing the area for potential attractants. Avangrid Renewables has proactively contracted with a third party to monitor condor movements using tracker signals and a geofence technology. Utilizing this type of technology helps manage risks to the species while enabling the operation of the wind farm.
After dwindling to just 27 individual condors in the mid-1980s, the population has recovered to over 500 thanks to the extraordinary efforts of a broad coalition of regional governments, nonprofits across the western United States and other interested stakeholders, including the Oregon Zoo.
"Bringing a species back from the brink of extinction is a huge undertaking and requires many partners," said Dr. Kelly Flaminio, who oversees the zoo's condor recovery efforts. "We're grateful to everyone involved, and proud of the progress we've made thus far in restoring this iconic bird to its historic range."
The USFWS permit and the support of condor recovery efforts at the Oregon Zoo represent an additional layer of assurance that Avangrid Renewables’ projects protect ecosystems and endangered species while providing clean energy.
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About Avangrid Renewables: Avangrid Renewables, LLC is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. and part of the IBERDROLA Group. It is a leading renewable energy company in the United States, owning and operating a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities. IBERDROLA, S.A., is an energy pioneer with the largest renewable asset base of any company in the world. Avangrid Renewables is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. For more information, visit www.avangridrenewables.com.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $38 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 7,000 people and has been recognized by Forbes and Just Capital as one of the 2021 JUST 100 companies – a list of America’s best corporate citizens – and was ranked number one within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment and the communities it serves. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2021 for the third consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.