Category Archives: Climate

Large wind turbines in the ocean.

News: Massachusetts Releases Historic Request for Offshore Wind Proposals

Exciting news: Massachusetts has just requested proposals for new offshore wind turbine developments that could produce up to 25% of our state’s electricity. Wind energy developers will now be able to submit proposals to build large arrays of wind turbines in the waters off of the Massachusetts Coast.  

Most importantly, these proposals include requirements for developers to monitor and mitigate the impacts of wind turbines on wildlife and to build the most efficient system of transmission lines possible—both crucial measures for the protection of nature. 

Mass Audubon enthusiastically supports offshore wind energy projects, but these developments must, and can, be built with an ironclad commitment to protecting nature and biodiversity.

Large wind turbines in the ocean.
Flickr © Andy Dingley

Climate Change and Massachusetts Wildlife 

Climate change is by far the greatest threat to the birds and wildlife of Massachusetts. It causes sea level rise and stronger ocean storms which wreak havoc on coastal bird habitats, drowning out nesting and foraging areas for species such as the federally protected Roseate Tern and Piping Plover. Warmer temperatures also alter the length of seasons, interrupting traditional migration patterns. All the birds, wildlife, and coastal ecosystems we cherish in Massachusetts are directly threatened by climate change. 

To slow the progress of climate change, Massachusetts must shift its energy system away from the fossil fuels that are emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The state has a goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2025. It simply won’t be possible to reach that goal without large-scale wind energy development. 

Wind energy projects—and especially offshore wind energy projects that take advantage of higher-speed ocean wind—are among the most cost-effective clean energy sources we have available. A few large-scale wind developments off our coast could power a quarter of the state. No other energy technology offers that kind of scale.

Mass Audubon’s Advocacy for Wildlife-Friendly Wind Development 

While Massachusetts needs offshore wind energy to help slow the climate crisis that is destroying our nature and wildlife, these developments must not come at the expense of our birds and wildlife. 

Compared to previous wind energy proposals in Massachusetts, the state’s latest proposal includes stronger requirements for wind developers to monitor and mitigate any harm to nature and wildlife that their projects cause.  

Additionally, we applaud the Commonwealth’s commitment to planning an efficient system of transmission lines connecting wind developments to the power grid. New transmission lines often impact forests and other habitats and can harm nearby birds and wildlife, so we must work to build new clean energy infrastructure with as light a footprint as possible.  

Both of these conservation provisions reflect Mass Audubon’s advocacy in action over the last several years. 

Our wildlife experts help monitor the impacts of wind energy development and are a critical voice on the state’s habitat advisory group. We will work to ensure that wind energy developers continue engaging with this group to make their projects as wildlife-friendly as possible. We’ll also continue to push for developers to provide the full funding needed to conduct wildlife monitoring and mitigation.  

The choice before us is not whether to pursue offshore wind or protect our iconic wildlife. We must do both. We’re optimistic that Massachusetts is up to the task.

How You Can Help Us Advocate for Wildlife-Friendly Wind Energy  

Learn more about our advocacy for responsible wind energy development

To get involved in the fight for responsible wind energy development, become a Climate Champion

Ollie Perrault: A Hero Among Us

During the Celtics game on November 30, 15-year-old Mass Audubon Youth Climate Leader, Ollie Perrault, was given the Heroes Among Us Award. For 25 years, the Boston Celtics have recognized people across the Commonwealth who are making a difference in our communities. This year, Governor-elect Maura Healey presented Perrault as the recipient of this prestigious award. 

Ollie Perrault stands in the middle of a basketball court with a blue shirt and patterned jeans while waving and smiling at the camera. Standing next to her is Governor-elect Maura Healey smiling in a black blazer and black pants.
Ollie Perrault with Governor-elect Maura Healey © Boston Celtics

As an added bonus, Perrault also had the opportunity to meet Prince William and Princess Kate, who were sitting courtside as part of their brief trip to Boston for The Earthshot Prize 2022. “I told them how incredibly inspired I was to see them taking up the climate cause by dedicating themselves to policy change and supporting climate mitigation efforts by implementing innovative, sustainable solutions,” said Perrault. “I also wanted to thank them for recognizing the power and importance of youth voices in the climate conversation and taking some time to highlight some of the incredible student-led organizations I am a part of.” 

Her interaction with the couple has sparked numerous local, regional, and even international news

Prince William extends his hand to shake Ollie Perrault's hand. Princess Kate stands next to her husband smiling at Ollie. Cameramen surround them to take a photo of the interaction.
Prince William and Princess Kate meeting Ollie Perrault © Jim Davis/The Boston Globe

Perrault became a Youth Climate Leader when she was 11 years old. The Youth Climate Leadership Program provides young adults and youth the support and tools they need to advocate for climate action in their communities. “I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to spread the word about my work and to highlight the issues and solutions that young people are prioritizing today,” she said. 

Perrault’s passion and dedication to making a difference is inspirational for people of all ages, and she is the perfect example of a Heroes Among Us. In the days following the ceremony, Perrault reflected, “I have been feeling incredibly hopeful to know just how many people out there support my work and I am ready to take this recognition back to Youth Climate Action Now and the Youth Climate Leadership Program to inspire more youth leaders to join the climate conversation and continue educating, empowering, and advocating for our right to a livable future.”   

To learn more about Perrault and what drove her to become a Youth Climate Leader, read what she wrote for our In Your Words column in March of 2022.