SOURCE: Engineering & Technology

DATE: March 26, 2020

SNIP: Researchers have claimed that more than 2,000 renewable energy facilities are built in areas of environmental significance and could be negatively impacting local biodiversity.

The team from the University of Queensland in Australia have mapped the location of solar, wind and hydropower facilities in wilderness, protected areas and key biodiversity areas.

Lead author José Rehbein said he was alarmed by the findings: “Aside from the more than 2,200 renewable energy facilities already operating inside important biodiversity areas, another 900 are currently being built.

“Energy facilities and the infrastructure around them, such as roads and increased human activity, can be incredibly damaging to the natural environment. These developments are not compatible with biodiversity conservation efforts.”

The majority of renewable energy facilities in western Europe and developed nations are located in biodiverse areas. Rehbein said there is still time for developers to reconsider facilities under construction in Asia and Africa.

University of Amsterdam senior author Dr James Allan said effective conservation efforts and a rapid transition to renewable energy was essential to prevent species extinctions and avoid catastrophic climate change.