Wild Energy

The Challenge

How can we meet global goals for renewable energy in ways that are beneficial to people, our world’s ecosystems and the species on which planetary resilience depends? The Mojave Desert’s abundant sunshine, for example, powers utility-scale solar installations—but solar technology risks disrupting the desert’s rich bee and plant diversity. Forests and grasslands that capture carbon are being destroyed to meet expanding energy production needs, with
interconnected impacts on biodiversity, available land resources and our climate. In order to build a healthier, more sustainable future, we must create energy systems that minimize environmental and societal impacts while maximizing the availability of clean power.

The Vision

Wild Energy is UC Davis’ vision for a flourishing, equitable energy economy that sustains biodiversity and human health. As a part of the One Climate Initiative’s holistic approach, Wild Energy researchers seek to include all voices at the interface of environment and society, including Native and Indigenous people and communities, concerned citizens, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, industry leaders, scientists, urban planners and more. Work at our demonstration sites includes project-based training opportunities for students to partner with researchers and global energy and environmental stakeholders—producing actionable data about renewable and conventional energy systems. By focusing on the ecological relationships surrounding technologies, from marine energy to floating and rooftop solar, Wild Energy will accelerate knowledge transfer across sectors to support
decision-making in sustainable energy planning and policy. Wild Energy will help our world meet growing energy needs while conserving the habitats, ecosystems and wild spaces we depend on.

Principle Investigator:  Rebecca Hernandez