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Exploiting renewable energy while allowing for protecting biodiversity

Date:
October 29, 2015
Source:
University of Helsinki
Summary:
Global expansion of bioenergy possesses serious threats to biodiversity, whereas solar energy could have potential for power provision with limited impacts on biodiversity, say experts.
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Deployment of renewable energy is expanding all over the world. There is high competition between alternative land uses, and conflicts over limited land are likely to emerge between biodiversity conservation and expanded deployment of renewable energy.

Dr Andrea Santangeli in the University of Helsinki, Finland, and his colleagues in the UK have explored global expansion of land use for renewable energies versus biodiversity protection. They discovered that the conflicts and opportunities largely depend on the type of energy at stake, with bioenergy strongly conflicting with biodiversity protection while generating only limited power at a global level.

Conversely, solar energy and, to a lower degree, wind energy, may provide relatively large power supplies with minimal impacts on biodiversity.

"We found that using a very limited amount of land for generating energy from the sun can yield large amounts of power without impacting the best areas for biodiversity protection. However, this result only holds when restrictions on energy storage and transport are largely ignored, which is unrealistic in the short term. Indeed, these findings highlight a major opportunity when political will and improved technologies make it possible to harvest renewable energy without such restrictions," says Andrea Santangeli.

Santangeli and colleagues also highlight that in the near future renewable energy most likely will not be able to make a very large contribution towards our total global energy consumption. So, other forms of energy still need to be considered.


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Materials provided by University of Helsinki. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrea Santangeli, Tuuli Toivonen, Federico Montesino Pouzols, Mark Pogson, Astley Hastings, Pete Smith, Atte Moilanen. Global change synergies and trade-offs between renewable energy and biodiversity. GCB Bioenergy, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12299

Cite This Page:

University of Helsinki. "Exploiting renewable energy while allowing for protecting biodiversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151029112223.htm>.
University of Helsinki. (2015, October 29). Exploiting renewable energy while allowing for protecting biodiversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151029112223.htm
University of Helsinki. "Exploiting renewable energy while allowing for protecting biodiversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151029112223.htm (accessed May 24, 2017).

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