Central Great Plains Grasslands

Wind Energy & Wildlife

Low-risk wind development areas offer major benefits to utility companies, wind energy developers, electricity consumers, and wildlife.

Wind energy farm
Wind farm in the Flint Hills Aerial view of the Elk River Wind Project near the small town of Beaumont, in the southern Flint Hills region of Kansas. © Jim Richardson


Central Great Plains Low-Risk Wind Mapping Tool
A 2016 analysis by The Nature Conservancy; covers Oklahoma, Kansas and portions of Texas.

Wind energy developers, utility companies and other power purchasers acquiring wind-generated electricity from the Great Plains may meet their renewable energy objectives while protecting nature by selecting projects sited in low-risk wind energy development areas.


Developers, utilities and others involved in wind energy can facilitate development of emission free energy while avoiding potential corporate pitfalls such as lawsuits, project delays, bad public relations and association with ecologically unsustainable facilities, simply by utilizing low-risk wind development areas in plans for development or purchasing of renewable energy.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Utilizing the Central Plains Low-Risk Wind Mapping Tool when selecting sites for wind farm development and for adjusting the footprint of projects already in the planning process.
  • Incorporating information from the Central Plains Low-Risk Mapping Tool into RFPs and selection process indicating that ecological considerations will be taken into account when making selections.
  • Analyzing the locations of submitted/proposed facilities in comparison to the low-risk wind development areas.
  • Utilizing the detailed maps of potential wildlife conflicts to formulate questions to be asked of developers regarding submitted projects. Questions can be about awareness of issues, mitigation provided, agency agreements acquired, etc.
  • Utilizing the Central Plains Low-Risk Wind Mapping Tool to discuss incorporation of these factors into approval processes for utility rates, company external communications, answering questions from customers or stakeholders, and sustainability reports.

There are no obligations or commitments associated with use of the low risk wind development areas maps. The information is simply made available for use by anyone interested – wind energy purchasers, wind project developers, wind energy project financiers, transmission planners, and the public. Use of this tool does not preclude any required coordination with relevant state and federal agencies.