Renewable energy (RE) sources have large land footprints, typically 3 to 12 times that of coal powered energy generation. Usually, RE projects are based on locations where the sun shines the brightest and the winds blow the hardest. If this is the singular aim – to maximum energy production – more than 11,900 km2 of forest and 55,700 km2 of agricultural land could be impacted. Potential risks that could emerge in such projects could create conflicts that delay projects and jeopardise investments.
A study conducted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) demonstrates that India can meet its renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022 by placing renewable energy infrastructure on already degraded lands which pose lower conflict. Our study shows that there are enough lower-conflict lands to generate more than 10 times our 2022 renewable energy target. The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Centre for Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) and Vasudha Foundation (VF) have collaborated to create a tool – SiteRight – to enable decision makers make a better choice. SiteRight helps users see consequences of deploying RE projects on natural and agricultural land without careful consideration of current or potential land use and RE potential from degraded lands. The tool thus helps to understand and proactively avoid impacts to nature or people.
Provides information on extent of potential ecological conflicts and how much room there is to avoid these.