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ECE Seminar Series (EE290) Land use in renewable energy planning

Speaker Name: 
Grace Wu
Speaker Title: 
Conservation Research Fellow
Speaker Organization: 
The Nature Conservancy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Start Time: 
Monday, April 22, 2019 - 10:40am
End Time: 
Monday, April 22, 2019 - 11:45am
Engineering 2 - 192
Prof. Yu Zhang & Prof. Yihsu Chen


Ambitious low-carbon transitions are underway in many jurisdictions, requiring the large-scale expansion of renewable energy. Simultaneously, growing energy demand in emerging economies is being met with rapid energy development, with the declining costs of wind and solar technologies making them among the most competitive options. These recent developments suggest the potential for “energy sprawl” to be another significant driver of habitat and biodiversity loss globally. With this rapid growth of renewable energy, there is a pressing need to develop strategies for quantifying land use related impacts related to renewable energy development and integrating these impacts in renewable energy planning processes. In this talk, I will present results from studies that address this gap in three study regions. These studies examine how to simultaneously meet conservation and climate objectives for California; quantify the benefits and trade-offs of multi-criteria wind and solar siting in Africa; and estimate forest-loss due to large-scale hydropower siting in the Brazilian Amazon. Decision-support tools and frameworks resulting from these studies can help avoid or minimize land and biodiversity impacts while reducing conflicts and barriers to the large scale deployment of renewable energy necessary to meet climate change mitigation targets.


Grace Wu is a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow with The Nature Conservancy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Until recently, she was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis. Grace is broadly interested in the land-energy nexus, challenges and trade-offs of renewable energy deployment, dynamics and drivers of land use change, and advancing our ability to plan for sustainable, multi-use landscapes that protect biodiversity while achieving climate goals. Her prior and ongoing research applies interdisciplinary approaches to understand the impact of energy infrastructure on land use and conservation and to develop practical strategies for avoiding negative impacts. She holds a BA in Biology from Pomona College, MPhil in Evolutionary Genetics from University of Cambridge, and an MS and PhD in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley.