The posing threat of climate change has pushed innovations in the use of alternative energy sources. Attempts to minimize planet resource depletion and combat climate change prioritize many individuals, countries, big brands, and global companies.
Renewable energy is fast becoming the trend to mitigate the effects of burning fossil fuels on the planet’s overall health. However, this transition to renewable energy lights on docks and in homes, and a green economy can disrupt biodiversity and ecosystems.
In 2017, ResearchGate published a study on how the revolution on renewable energy impacts ecosystem change and biodiversity loss. Experts and scientists argue that the world’s transition to a fossil-fuel-free economy comes with its set of issues and concerns.
The Overlooked Cost of Renewable Energy
Urgent efforts are being implemented worldwide to save the planet from extinction. Projects and initiatives to reduce our environmental impact are among the most tackled issues in global conventions, scientific studies, and social media forums.
Indeed, more and more people are aware of the looming threats of climate change and global warming. Everyone wants to do their part in limiting their footprints. Projects on a worldwide scale are being undertaken to assess and address how we use non-renewable energy.
The use of renewable energy is considered the most significant step humanity can take to preserve what’s left of the planet. As the backbone of the green economy, renewable energy is considered one of the most probable solutions to better human wellbeing and social inequality while effectively reducing environmental hazards and ecological scarcity.
The promise of renewable energy to avert global warming and aid in climate mitigation was questioned by different scientific studies. Although these initiatives offer many advantages, recent studies highlighted the possible adverse effects of mining and sourcing renewable energy.
The Negative Impact of Renewable Energy
Scientific papers caution the use of renewable technologies can significantly affect biodiversity. These negative impacts can alter the natural ecosystem and potentially affect many creatures and living organisms, from animals, birds, sea creatures, plants, and humans.
Because heat is continuously produced deep in the bowels of the Earth, geothermal energy is one of the primary sources of renewable energy. Despite this advantage, geothermal energy requires a large amount of money and a significant land area.
Geothermal sites produced holes in the Earth’s surface due to the required drilling to extract gas. Poisonous gases escape these holes that endanger human health and lives and the wellbeing of flora and fauna within the site’s vicinity.
A recent Hydropower Status Report shows that the world will need 2,600 GW hydropower capacity by the mid-century to avoid the global temperature from rising. Hydropower is the world’s most dominant renewable energy source.
However, dam construction and controlling natural river flow proved to be damaging to the wildlife and the people. The most noted harmful effect of hydropower is the frequent flooding in areas where it was built, destroying land, forests, and nature.
Wind energy provides a significant share in energy resources. Because of this, many wind farms are constructed to help address the global demand. The conversion of wind into energy is made possible by towering wind turbines.
Wind turbines greatly impact birds and other flying species. The National Wind Coordinating Committee reported that collisions of birds, bats, and insects with wind turbines result in their deaths and a decline in the number of their species.
Air pressure changes from wind turbines also affect birds’ and insects’ flying capacity, limiting natural pollination activities.
The sun is also a powerful source of renewable energy. However, large-scale solar installations are needed to supply the massive need for solar energy.
The building of solar panels alters its surroundings resulting in changes in moisture and surface temperatures. No matter how slight, these environmental changes can significantly affect the ecosystem, resulting in unintended impacts on plants and animals in the area.
Solar energy is also associated with improper land use, too much water utilization, habitat loss, and pollution.
What to Do?
Renewable energy is arguably one of the best solutions to address the current global crisis. However, it also comes with its unique advantages and disadvantages.
Scientists, engineers, policy-makers, and everyone should do their part to contribute and come up with better solutions not only to lessen carbon emission but also to protect the planet in its entirety.