Renewable Energy

In 2010, Madrone Audubon formed our Renewable Energy Committee. The Committee is comprised of Madrone Audubon Board members, as well as leading conservationists of Sonoma County. Together, we have researched and continue to follow technological advancements that are environmentally friendly for wind, solar and other renewable forms of energy.

Sonoma County has vibrant, beautiful landscapes, with diverse forest, coastal and upland habitats and open spaces. These are hallmarks of the exceptional natural resources of the County and are a draw for visitors.

Solar panels and vertical axis wind system

Left: solar panels.   Right: Vertical axis wind system.

Careful, attentive planning for renewable energy in Sonoma County is a focus of our Committee. From 2010 to 2012, we provided input to the County’s developing renewable energy policy. We also offered comments and raised questions at public hearings – all with the intent to support renewable energy while energetically defending and supporting migratory and resident birds and flyways, wildlife habitat and movement corridors.

For each community in Sonoma County, preserving scenic vistas, agricultural land, open space and gateways are important practical and aesthetic considerations for any proposal.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors reviewed and approved the Renewable Energy Policy in September 2013.

In short, small wind systems (vertical axis or environmentally friendly, efficient design) attached to buildings or in locations away from flyways, and solar panel systems on roofs and away from flyways or wildlife corridors, both occupying small acreages, appear to be the most environmentally beneficial and potentially productive methods for implementing renewable energy and supporting conservation of land, flyways and wildlife corridors.

If you have questions, concerns or information about a proposal in your area of the County, please contact:  Susan Kirks, Committee Chair,, 707-241-5548.

Links to recent articles:

Bird kill at large-scale solar towers Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project

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Carved Bird Pins

In the 1970s, member Tom Olds hand-carved bird pins and sold them to raise money for Madrone Audubon. More