Christina Calabrese, Director of Permitting and Environmental Affairs at EDP Renewables North America, is this year’s Andrew Linehan Award for Environmental Excellence recipient.
The award is presented to leaders in the siting community who strive to improve U.S. wind industry siting practices, an endeavor that in turn helps preserve the collective reputation of wind power as having the lowest cradle-to-grave lifecycle impacts of any energy source on wildlife and habitats.
Ms. Calabrese has met and exceeded these criteria since joining the U.S. wind industry in 2008.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with her, and her passion for environmental conservation and wind energy is readily apparent.
Ms. Calabrese comes from an environmental background, having studied environmental management and biology, and she brings this perspective to her work. She’s managed projects across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
She explained one of the reasons she was drawn to wind power was, “the whole notion of doing something good for future generations grabbed me.”
However, Ms. Calabrese also noted it’s the people that have kept her working in wind for the past eight years. She spoke passionately about the collaboration between different wind companies as they continually try to reduce impacts to the greatest extent practicable, despite being competitors in the marketplace.
It’s this legacy of caring that has driven technological improvements that reduce wildlife impacts. It’s also what makes voluntary, first-of-its-kind guidelines possible, like best practices to reduce wind energy’s impacts on bats, which experts predict could reduce total bat impact levels by as much as 30 percent. Not coincidentally, Ms. Calabrese played a key role in creating these guidelines.
Ms. Calabrese stressed that early planning and cooperation are key elements of good siting. Making sure to evaluate all factors as soon as possible, and reaching out to stakeholder federal agencies early on, is highly important, as is coordination between developers and engineers. According to Ms. Calabrese, that’s the best way to navigate the balance between having a well-sited project and having a project that can work.
Ultimately, “If you minimize impacts, you minimize the permitting burden.”
Please join us in congratulating Ms. Calabrese for her hard work and important contributions to American wind power.
AWEA is now accepting nominations for the Britt Theismann Wind Energy Person of the Year award and the Commercial Achievement award both will be presented at AWEA WINDPOWER 2016 Conference & Exhibition taking place May 23 – 26 in New Orleans, LA. Please submit your nominations by March 28th for consideration!