Environmental activist groups claim they are trying to save the planet by changing how we produce and use energy.
The reality is that wind turbines and solar arrays take up enormous amounts of land, far more than conventional power plants. And the expansion of renewables is rapidly moving into biologically sensitive areas, which fractures wildlife habitat and endangers threatened species.
A new study, published in Global Change Biology, explains that growing renewable development is impacting three categories of sensitive biodiversity. The numbers are concerning. The current and future developments are—or will be—degrading 886 protected areas, 749 Key Biodiversity Areas and 40 wilderness areas.
The spread of industrial wind and solar development into sensitive areas is currently most prevalent in Western Europe. But future expansions are moving into Southeast Asia and Africa, where biodiversity is more concentrated and valuable to the planet’s health.
The inherent problem with all renewables is they lack energy density. Because they must capture energy from the wind and sun, they are inefficient in turning that energy into usable electricity. Therefore, they take up a lot more land than coal, natural gas, and nuclear power.
If activist groups were really concerned about the health of the planet, they would be greatly concerned about the loss of threatened species and the unnecessary destruction of critical biodiverse areas where these species live.