The development of renewable energy threatens biodiversity. About 2.2 thousand renewable energy facilities have already been built in areas of high environmental importance, and the infrastructure around them can seriously disrupt the natural habitat of animals. This conclusion was made by scientists from the University of Queensland, a study of which was published in the journal Global Change Biology.
Scientists have mapped the location of solar, wind, and hydropower facilities in the wild, protected areas, and key areas of biodiversity. The study showed that most of the facilities in Western Europe and developed countries are located in areas that until now were almost untouched by human activity.
According to scientists, efforts to conserve species and quickly switch to renewable energy sources are important to prevent the extinction of animals and catastrophic climate change. However, this will only happen if both conditions are met.
In addition to more than 2,200 renewable energy facilities already operating in important biodiversity areas, another 900 are currently under construction. Energy facilities and the infrastructure around them, such as roads and increased human activity, can cause incredible damage to the environment. These events are not compatible with biodiversity conservation efforts.
Jose Rebane, lead author of the study
In their work, researchers urge governments, industry, and development organizations to avoid expanding the number of renewable energy facilities in conservation areas and plan their construction in alternative locations.