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Natural Resource Systems

Our scientists prepare environmental impact statements to help the nation create a framework for developing renewable energy capabilities on public lands.

The energy development needed to fuel our technologically advanced society requires informed evaluations of the effects such development has on our fragile environment. Our researchers address this need through in-depth assessments of energy technologies and their impacts on environmental, social, and economic resources; development of geospatial models and tools; and studies that focus on the sustainability of energy and environmental systems.

Natural Resource Economics and Systems Analysis 

EVS studies the role of energy and other natural resources in the economy; assesses and develops more sustainable methods for managing these resources; and evaluates environmental and energy policies related to fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy technologies. 

We evaluate the impacts of air emissions and water use related to energy technologies and determine the constraints these impacts place on energy development and the sustainability of energy and environmental systems. 

Renewable Energy 

EVS supports DOE’s efforts to facilitate utility-scale development of renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, and geothermal by conducting life cycle analyses and in-depth assessments of environmental impacts (e.g., National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA] assessments). In addition, we develop geospatial models and tools that simulate energy and environmental processes to help stakeholders understand issues fundamental to their decision making. 

We have also developed regional mitigation strategies and a long-term environmental monitoring program to support the Bureau of Land Management (U.S. Department of the Interior) in its effort to manage the permitting of utility-scale solar energy projects on public lands in the southwest. 

Cultural Resources 

EVS develops innovative, effective methods for characterizing and mitigating impacts on cultural resources from energy development and other activities. We also analyze related issues of particular interest to Native American tribes, and we support federal agencies in their consultations with those tribes. 

We developed an electronic display platform to help federal agencies manage their cultural resources and communicate cultural resource information to the general public. 

Visual Resources 

EVS conducts assessments to identify energy-related impacts on sensitive visual resources (e.g., scenic landscapes) and provides guidance for long-term environmental monitoring and mitigation. The accurate prediction of visual impacts is an important aspect of planning and siting energy facilities near U.S. national parks and monuments.

Research Highlights