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View Full Version : Renewable energy is good, m'kay?


yks 6nnetu hing
05-06-2016, 06:49 AM
linky (http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/44160/solar-farms-boost-biodiversity-according-to-new-study/)

Solar farms boost biodiversity, according to new study
05 May 2016

New research has found that solar farms have a positive impact on biodiversity for a range of plant and animal species when combined with an appropriate land management plan.
The report has tested and confirmed a growing body of anecdotal evidence that solar farms can actively benefit local wildlife. It also further validates advice given by biodiversity specialists, such as the BRE National Solar Centre Biodiversity Guidance for Solar Developments [2], which demonstrates that solar PV can be combined with agricultural activity such as grazing while benefitting the natural health of the surrounding area.

The Effects of Solar Farms on Local Biodiversity: A Comparative Study was carried out by ecological consultants Clarkson & Woods and Wychwood Biodiversity and examined 11 solar farms in England and Wales alongside neighbouring control plots. The authors claim that the research is the most comprehensive and in depth UK study in the field so far.

Leonie Greene, spokesperson for the Solar Trade Association commented: “We’re delighted with the findings of this survey. It confirms that solar farms, when done properly, are an asset to our countryside and our natural environment.”

At each of the 11 selected sites various methods of land management were being used including seeding sites with a diverse seed mix, limiting the use of herbicides, conservation grazing or mowing, and management of marginal habitats for wildlife. The level of benefit to biodiversity is dependent on the management - the stronger the focus on wildlife management the better. In this way, the report conveys, solar farms provide a ‘mosaic’ of meadow habitat and important foraging grounds and shelter for many species.

The report suggests that the findings are not only beneficial for wildlife but could also provide ecosystem services important for people and agriculture. For example, by becoming net producers of pollinating insects, which are in decline across the UK, solar farms can promote the health of surrounding crops such as cereals, vegetables, soft fruits and orchard fruits, according to the research. Furthermore, ‘solar farms are unique in the farmed landscape in that they provide a high value ‘crop’ (solar power) while leaving the majority of the land area free for wildlife management.’ However, the authors call for more research in this area.



It's actually very similar to how (offshore) windfarms affect the wildlife. The area is closed for unauthorized access for 2 main reasons: 1) preventing damage to the equipment 2) potential health hazard for the morons who think it's "cool" to go play with high voltage cables.

Although, I do think an important point is given in the article: it is imperative that the land management of these solar plants is thought out. I mean, spraying the area with pesticides is very counterintuitive because first of all there's no crops and second of all, the chemicals might damage the equipment or the productivity of the panels. So it's easy enough to say: ok, so we'll buy some selection of seeds every couple of years and then not spray the area. And, hey presto! more bees to pollinate not only that area but also the surrounding areas.

With offshore windmills, it's the same: fish love the algae that start growing on the "artificial reef", and the seals and other sea mammals love the fish. I saw a visualisation of a seal movement once, based on its tag gps data, the dude (or dudette, no clue) went from the shore straight to the park, and then just circled one windmill after the other for a couple of hours, then went back to the shore. Repeat the next day :D

And then there's this (https://webberenergyblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/canal-top-pv-will-save-water-and-produce-clean-energy-in-gujarat-india/) project in India

Canal-top PV will save water and produce clean energy in Gujarat, India

Gujarat is the small, westernmost state in India, home to over 60 million people, many of which are without access to electricity or water.[1]

The national electrical grid in India is unstable and inefficient. During transmission and distribution, it loses 22% of what it generates in centralized coal, hydroelectric, natural gas and nuclear power plants.[2] India’s grid remains chronically short on generating capacity and has a history of massive power failures (July 2012 blackout in India left 10% of the world population without power)[3]. It also does not extend to the remote, western parts of India.

Water supply is also a problem in Gujarat. With relatively low rainfall and a semi-arid to arid climate, Gujarat has poor surface water resources. In an effort to bring water to rural districts, the state developed a massive web of concrete and cement-lined canals, diverting water from the Narmada River for irrigation and drinking water purposes for thirsty, growing populations. However, due to extreme heat and dry conditions, much of this water is lost through evaporation.


Not surprisingly, the state of Gujarat has immense solar power potential. It has some of the strongest solar resources in the country. By installing solar PV panels atop the Narmada canal, nearby Gujarat residents will have access to reliable off-grid power that simultaneously prevents water loss through evaporation by shielding the canal’s water from sun and wind.

This suspended system is the first of its kind since it is mounted over a water canal. It spans about a kilometer of the canal, but does not touch the water. Solar Edison was commissioned in 2010 to engineer and construct the project. Their design includes 1 MW of power over a narrow strip of one of the canal branches since the main Narmada canal is extremely wide. The site was selected because there are reliable roads and access to the electrical grid nearby. The canal also runs North-South, which maximizes the amount of sun that shines on the panels and therefore, the amount of power produced. An added benefit of installing panels over water is water will keep the panels cooler, which improves PV efficiency. Solar panels over water will end up producing more power over a longer lifespan than panels mounted on land in extreme dry conditions.

Solar Edison’s design promises to save an estimated 7,000,000 L of drinkable water per year by preventing evaporation and preventing algae growth in the canal. Algae can clog the irrigation pumps, which increases maintenance costs and lowers productivity.[4] The state appreciates that this system both will generate clean energy and conserve water. They also appreciate that it does not require new land acquisition. The next proposed phase of this project will double the solar power capacity installed over the canal to 2 MW.[5]


I mean, in the renewables world 1 MW is not a lot at all, but if it works and it can be expanded across other canals in India, just imagine the potential to both drinking water availability as well as energy efficiency :D

GonzoTheGreat
05-06-2016, 09:10 AM
Water supply is also a problem in Gujarat. With relatively low rainfall and a semi-arid to arid climate, Gujarat has poor surface water resources. In an effort to bring water to rural districts, the state developed a massive web of concrete and cement-lined canals, diverting water from the Narmada River for irrigation and drinking water purposes for thirsty, growing populations. However, due to extreme heat and dry conditions, much of this water is lost through evaporation.Why would, in an arid climate, water in an open canal evaporate?

Isabel
05-06-2016, 10:24 AM
I don't really know what to say on this article, besides : yay :) :)