Fossil fuel production, transportation and use harms habitat, pollutes the environment and causes climate change. By using this tool to identify habitat-friendly sites for renewable energy projects, we can reduce potential conflict with nature, speed approvals and create an energy future that will sustain us all.
WWF-Canada has developed an interactive tool for Alberta, New Brunswick, the Bay of Fundy and Saskatchewan that helps developers and communities identify renewable energy projects that avoid conflict with nature and subsequent costly delays.
Why this tool is needed
Globally, biodiversity is in crisis. Wildlife has declined by nearly 60 per cent in the past 40 years and climate change, powered by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, is pushing some species even closer to extinction.
Here in Canada, four provinces still rely on coal power for electricity generation, contributing roughly 60 million tonnes of CO2-eq per year and posing a significant source of air pollution with impact for wildlife and communities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
To stop the destruction of habitat and acceleration of climate change, the world urgently needs to move toward a clean energy economy by transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Lengthy and expensive project delays can be prevented by considering nature at the outset of energy development planning, by choosing sites in areas with fewer regulatory restrictions and low conservation value. To help with this, WWF is equipping developers with the information they need to avoid conflicts with nature.
Alberta is replacing coal electricity generation with 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy. Using this tool and following Alberta’s Wildlife Directives to site projects in areas with the least conflict with nature will result in even greater benefits and fewer obstacles to development.
To reach its goal of 40 per cent renewable energy by 2020, New Brunswick supports renewable energy projects owned by First Nations and communities. WWF-Canada developed the Renewables for Nature prototype for this region.
The Bay of Fundy
The renewable energy potential of tidal power in the Bay of Fundy has drawn considerable interest. The government of Nova Scotia plans to harness 300 MW of tidal power.
Saskatchewan aims to increase its renewable energy generation capacity from 25 per cent today to 50 per cent, by 2030. Siting guidelines for wind energy provide environmental considerations to already existing federal and provincial regulations.
Our six conservation values
High Conservation Values (HCVs) are biological, ecological, social or cultural values of outstanding significance or critical importance. The HCV approach was first applied by the Forest Stewardship Council and is now used globally in certification standards for agriculture and other sectors, and for resource use and conservation planning.
Significant concentrations of wildlife including both common and at-risk species.
Significant and large ecosystems containing healthy populations of native species.
Rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems, habitats or refugia.
Basic services and benefits from intact ecosystems, such as water purification, pollination, flood and erosion control.
Fundamental sites and resources for maintaining health and well-being of local and Indigenous communities.
Significant sites of national or local importance, especially for Indigenous communities