The American Wind Energy Association today honored Iberdrola Renewables’ Stu Webster, director of permitting and environmental affairs, with the Andrew Linehan Award for Environmental Excellence. Webster received the award at the national advocacy group’s fall conference in Chandler, Ariz.
“This award is truly a professional and personal honor,” said Webster. “I’m extremely proud of not only my Iberdrola Renewables team but also countless others in this industry who work tirelessly to reduce wind’s impact on wildlife. It is critically important that we demonstrate to the world that wind is truly the greenest energy source available and I’m pleased we are making great strides in that direction.”
Webster has led Iberdrola Renewables’ wildlife protection efforts since mid-2010, including full implementation of the company’s fleet-wide, one-of-a-kind Avian and Bat Protection Policy in 2010; completion of a three-year radar monitoring study of migratory bird and bat use at the Peñascal wind facility in Texas; and continuation of a nine-year study of increasing the presence of prairie chickens at the operating Elk River wind facility in Kansas. Webster has overseen numerous public and private research initiatives on raptor populations. He has also worked to improve techniques of monitoring for bats and birds – and, in collaboration with Bat Conservation International, has refined cut-in speed curtailment techniques.
Webster’s initial career as an air quality scientist led him to wind energy, an industry that held great promise to address air and water quality challenges facing the energy sector – including its alarming impact on the earth’s climate. His first wind energy position was permitting director for Clipper Windpower Development.
As vice president of the American Wind Wildlife Institute – a partnership of wind industry and environmental non-governmental organizations whose mission is to effectively address the interactions of wind energy development on wildlife and habitats – Webster led such initiatives as development of the Landscape Assessment Tool (LAT) and advocating for the creation of an accessible database of wind industry wildlife studies. The Research Information System (RIS) is currently under development by AWWI. He has served on AWWI’s board of directors since 2010.
AWEA established the Award for Environmental Excellence in honor of Iberdrola Renewables’ Andrew Linehan in 2010, after Linehan succumbed to a long battle with cancer. The award recognizes individuals in the wind industry “who contribute to the responsible siting and permitting of individual projects, who tackle wildlife issues proactively and who work to establish and advance, as Andy did, the highest environmental standards for the industry.”
“This is a very proud and poignant day for us,” said Martin Mugica, president and CEO of Iberdrola Renewables. “Stu Webster has done a phenomenal job of continuing Andy Linehan’s legacy and we’re very happy to see this award come full circle. Stu continues to raise the bar on environmental stewardship at Iberdrola Renewables and across the wind industry.”
Iberdrola Renewables LLC has a long history of responsible development, particularly when it comes to safeguarding the natural environment. The company works closely with state and federal agencies, and environmental groups, to site wind farms responsibly—and regularly participate in studies seeking to reduce wind power’s impact on wildlife and other aspects of the environment. In 2008, Iberdrola Renewables adopted the U.S. wind industry’s first voluntary Avian and Bat Protection Policy, which was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Stu Webster’s work has been very important to an industry committed to improving the health of our planet,” said Denise Bode, AWEA CEO. “We’ve worked alongside Stu for many years through his leadership positions on AWEA committees and involvement in important industry research, and we are pleased to honor his efforts.”
Webster holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) as well as a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Business Management from the Bren School at UCSB.
Iberdrola Renewables, LLC is the U.S. renewable energy division of parent company IBERDROLA, S.A., an energy pioneer with the largest renewable asset base of any company in the world. Iberdrola Renewables, LLC is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has over $9 billion of operating assets totaling more than 5,000 MW of wind and solar generation.