The mission of the Harvard Forest Program on Conservation Innovation (PCI) is to build knowledge about highly effective conservation science, education, governance, protection, and stewardship practices and to communicate that knowledge to conservation practitioners, decision makers, and citizens in the United States as well as across the globe.
The PCI has five overarching goals:
- to conduct research that informs advanced conservation practice and focuses attention on the outstanding innovation in the field
- to educate present-day and future conservation practitioners and involved citizenry regarding emerging approaches to conserving land, water, and biodiversity
- to award and recognize exemplary conservation initiatives
- to convene focused leadership dialogues on critical conservation challenges and inventive solutions commensurate with those challenges, and
- to broadly communicate with a global audience regarding important conservation innovations that may be commensurate with the complex challenges of our day.
Definition of Problem
There are many opportunities for renewable energy (especially solar and wind) in Chile’s northern region just beginning to be explored. Developing new power sources, of course, will also have an impact on the environment. However, there is little analysis about the opportunities and trade-offs in sustainable energy development and its impact on the environment. In both the conservation and energy areas, there are increasing networks between the Chile and the US that lead to sharing the experience and expertise. Chile could serve as a model for alternative energy development, including in its energy siting regulations and the successful integration of biodiversity offsets on sites in which biodiversity habitat is compromised or damaged. (Explore how to use experience elsewhere to influence siting on energy sites so as to mitigate impact on the environment.)
Initial Steps and Options
- Explore energy and mitigation policies now in place, as well as the potential for policies or pilot projects which might be developed in Chile with representatives of the private sector, the non-governmental organization (NGO) sector, the public sector, and the academic sector.
- Explore international precedents for addressing such issues, including the emergence of renewable energy siting and mitigation policies at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (e.g., Kit Muller, Director of Strategic Planning, US Bureau of Land Management) (see, for example: http://blmsolar.anl.gov/; see also:http://solareis.anl.gov/news/index.cfm#solarprogram).
- Explore financial analyst assessments of the potential for renewable energy developments in Chile (for example, see reports of Deutsche Bank analysis that the photovoltaic market in Chile is at or near “grid parity” with other sources of electric power at http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/deutsche-sees-chile-as-first-subsidy-free-big-solar-market-79342)
- Explore the potential of photovoltaic and water desalinization technologies now in early development stages at MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to transform the economies of arid regions such as northern Chile (for example, see information on the relevant articles at http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/how-to-get-fresh-water-out-of-thin-air-0830.html and at http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/thinner-solar-panels-0626.html.
- It is important that at least some members of the group speak Spanish.