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Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy: Gone with the Wind?

  • Viktor KouloumpisEmail author
  • Xiongwei Liu
  • Elspeth Lees
Chapter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 23)

Abstract

Wind energy is constantly gaining ground, especially in the UK, helping to tackle climate change and support energy security as the country wants to become less dependent to imported fossil fuels like coal and gas. Nevertheless, wind farm life cycle environmental impacts are not negligible and the construction and operation of wind turbine generators can cause several environmental impacts to the area where they have been sited. Therefore, it is reasonable to question, (a) whether there are “hidden” environmental impacts from the use of renewable energy technologies, and (b) whether supporting wind energy in order to displace fossil fuels just substitutes one environmental problem with another one (or more). This chapter uses UK as a case-study to describe thorough processes of environmental assessment and the environmental impacts related to wind energy. This lecture creates a pallet of potential issues that should be taken into account with regards to implementing environmental energy governance practices. The two methods used here, are (a) the Environmental Impact Assessment approach (used to identify on-site impacts that wind farms have on the environment) and (b) the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach, which connects the energy, material, wastes and emissions with a wide range of environmental impact categories. The findings could change the way we think about wind energy and might make it easy to understand why there are still people who are opposed to the development of wind farms.

Keywords

Life Cycle Assessment Wind Turbine Wind Power Wind Farm Global Warming Potential 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health and ScienceUniversity of CumbriaCarlisleUK

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