Duke Energy Renewables invests in bald eagle research, education in Oklahoma

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  • Support of Sutton Avian Research Center provides public with livestream video access to bald eagle nesting activity.

  • Eagles typically build nests in late fall and early winter, with eggs arriving in December, January.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – During bald eagle nesting season, avian enthusiasts agree the best things come in pairs.

That’s especially true this season as Duke Energy Renewables has partnered with Sutton Avian Research Center in Oklahoma on the installation of the center’s second eagle nest camera, now livestreaming video at suttoncenter.org.

Duke Energy Renewables provided grants totaling $37,500 to support the Sutton Center’s original camera in Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge – the longest consistently running nest camera in the nation – and fund the installation of a second nest camera in rural Bartlesville, just half a mile from the Sutton Center.

The second camera is now live on the Sutton Center website, and an adult eagle and a juvenile eagle have been spotted in the area. In Oklahoma, eagles typically refresh the nest in late fall or early winter, with eggs appearing in December or January.

The Sutton Center is well-known for its avian research and successful bald eagle recovery programs. It is credited with restoring Oklahoma’s bald eagle population from zero nesting pairs in the 1980s to more than 200 nesting pairs today.

“People care more when they can connect with the natural world,” said Lena Larsson, Ph.D. and the executive director at the Sutton Center. “Duke Energy Renewables’ grant supports the Center’s mission to find cooperative conservation solutions for birds and the natural world through science and education. Especially now when people are staying inside to avoid the coronavirus, providing a safe window for experiencing nature up close is tremendously important.”

Duke Energy Renewables is one of the nation’s top renewable energy providers. It is a commercial business unit of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a leader in developing national best practices to reduce bird impacts at wind facilities and from power lines.

“The incredible work of the Sutton Center complements our own efforts to prioritize the conservation of wildlife where our renewable energy projects are located, including Frontier Windpower II in Oklahoma and the eagle protection measures we’ve implemented there,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Renewables. “We’re proud to be an active participant in the Sutton Center’s education efforts as we deliver on our mission to provide safe, clean, renewable energy in a sustainable way.”

Frontier Windpower II

In 2019, Duke Energy Renewables announced the largest wind power project in its fleet – the 350-megawatt (MW) Frontier Windpower II project in Kay County, Okla., which is nearing completion.

Frontier II is an expansion of Frontier Windpower, which has been operational since 2016. The Frontier II project will incorporate IdentiFlight, an advanced technology that quickly detects eagles and slows a turbine to prevent collisions, as part of the company’s comprehensive eagle management plan.

Once complete, Frontier I and II will generate a total of 550 MW of wind energy – enough clean energy to power approximately 193,000 homes.

Front-row seat

The Sutton Center’s bald eagle cameras provide web users around the globe a front-row seat to the birds’ real-time nesting activities; nesting season for Oklahoma bald eagles extends from November to June.

Known to mate for life and live for decades, bald eagles can boast wingspans of up to 8 feet. Bonded pairs often return to the same nesting site year after year, where eagle cams can reveal their unique personalities, courting rituals, egg laying, incubation habits, feeding strategies, and the sometimes heartbreaking survival challenges of eaglets.

Sutton Research Center

The George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center (Sutton Center) is a private, nonprofit organization located near Bartlesville, Okla. It was founded in 1983 with the mission of finding cooperative conservation solutions for birds and the natural world through science and education. The Sutton Center focuses on educating young people and enriching their lives through free, inclusive and accessible education programs that work in concert with our wildlife recovery efforts.

The Sutton Center has become a leader in avian research and conservation and has conducted intensive, conservation-oriented, ecological field research on declining grassland birds, developed and applied techniques for the reintroduction and monitoring of Southern bald eagles, managed the successful captive breeding of endangered species and performed bird surveys across the world. For more information about supporting its mission, visit suttoncenter.org, email info@suttoncenter.org, or follow Sutton Center on Facebook and Instagram.

Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the Foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.

Duke Energy Renewables

Duke Energy Renewables, a nonregulated unit of Duke Energy, operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., with a total electric capacity of 3,000 megawatts. The power is sold to electric utilities, electric cooperatives, municipalities, and commercial and industrial customers. The unit also operates energy storage and microgrid projects. Visit Duke Energy Renewables for more information.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, in addition to Duke Energy Renewables’ capacity.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.    

Media contact: Bill Norton
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