CEO heads up new institute

Jan Blittersdorf, CEO of NRG Systems in Hinesburg, was named vice chairwoman of the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI).

Recently formed by 20 of the nation's top science-based conservation and environmental groups and wind energy companies, AWWI is a first-of-its-kind collaboration with a mission of facilitating "timely and responsible development of wind energy" while protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat. AWWI will do this through research, mapping, mitigation and public education on best practices in wind farm siting and habitat protection.

"Numerous studies have shown that migratory bats are undergoing large fatalities due to wind turbines. Far more bats die due to wind turbines than birds, though they generally receive less attention," according to environmental writer Jeremy Hance.

AWWI will begin with an operating budget of $3 million for its first two years. To carry out its mission, AWWI will focus on conducting research, promoting sustainable development, funding biodiversity protection, and educating the public about the interplay between wildlife and wind turbines.

In addition to NRG, the remaining founding AWWI industry members are AES Wind Energy, B.P. Wind Energy, Babcock and Brown, enXco, Clipper Windpower, E.ON, G.E. Energy, Horizon Wind Energy, Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA, Nordic Windpower, Renewable Energy Systems Americas and Vestas Americas.

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