The United States has embarked on a goal to increase electricity generation from clean, renewable sources by 2012. Towards this end, wind energy is emerging as a widely distributed form of renewable energy throughout the country. The national goal is for energy from wind to supply 20 percent of the country's electricity by 2030. As with many land uses, trade-offs exist between costs and benefits. New wind developments are occurring rapidly in parts of the United States, often leaving little time for evaluation of potential site-specific effects. These developments are known to affect wildlife, directly from fatality due to collision with the infrastructure and indirectly from loss of habitat and migration routes. The Department of the Interior, in particular, is challenged to balance energy development on public lands and also to conserve fish and wildlife. The Secretary of the Interior has proposed a number of initiatives to encourage responsible development of renewable energy. These initiatives are especially important in the western United States where large amounts of land are being developed or evaluated for wind farms.
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Wind energy and wildlife research at the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center