Pine Gate Renewables, a leading national utility-scale renewable energy developer, and the Arbor Day Foundation have announced a new partnership to replant trees impacted as a result of project development. Starting in 2021, Pine Gate will plant two trees for every one that is removed from their sites during new project construction.
Through its partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, Pine Gate is focused on making a positive impact through both the expansion of renewable energy across the country and through the support of local community environmental initiatives.
“Solar power is a vital step toward our carbon-neutral future,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Through their commitment to reforestation, Pine Gates Renewables is helping to ensure that new solar projects benefit the forest ecosystems we rely upon, while also providing a pathway to cleaner and lower-cost energy.”
For 2021, Pine Gate will be planting 15,000 trees in both North and South Carolina as part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Longleaf Pine Restoration projects. Pine Gate operates 43 solar projects in the Carolinas and has more than 4,000MW in development.
This work will support the restoration of longleaf pine stands and provide critical habitat for rare species including the gopher tortoise and red-cockaded woodpecker. While longleaf pines once covered 90 million acres, they now cover less than 3% of their original range. Restoration of longleaf pine has become a major conservation effort because these pines are more resistant to the impacts of climate change than other southern pines. Their ability to withstand severe windstorms and pests and to also tolerate droughts and wildfire makes their reforestation efforts key to creating resiliency in the area as the effects of climate change grow.
In Oregon, Pine Gate is planting 5,000 trees along the Columbia River Basin. The work in Oregon is a multi-year project to undo the effects of deforestation and industrialization on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. The trees in Oregon will improve water quality, restore wildlife habitats and support recreation and watershed health. The end goal is to improve the riparian ecosystem that promotes abundant salmon runs and counteracts the decline of the salmon population in the Pacific Northwest. Pine Gate has 16 operational solar projects across the state and 21 in development.
Pine Gate is also working to involve Michigan school children in their reforestation work. 5,000 trees will be planted in Michigan in coordination with Trees for Schools, which plants on K-12 school lands and will involve student visits to the site before, during and after planting to exhibit how trees protect water quality. Pine Gate operates 14 solar projects in the Great Lakes State and has 21 more in development.
“We’re so excited to partner with the Arbor Day Foundation to make an impact with needed reforestation efforts around the country,” said Ben Catt, CEO of Pine Gate Renewables. “The work we do each day to create renewable, clean energy is rewarding, but we knew we could do more. With this new replanting effort, we ensure our solar projects are truly sustainable.”