The global attention has always been focussed on the adverse environmental impacts of conventional energy sources. In contrast nonconventional energy sources, particularly the renewable ones, have enjoyed a ‘clean’ image vis a vis environmental impacts. The only major exception to this general trend has been large hydropower projects; experience has taught us that they can be disastrous for the environment. The belief now is that minihydel and microhydel projects are harmless alternatives. But are renewable energy sources really as benign as is widely believed? The present essay addresses this question in the background of Lovin's classical paradigm, which had postulated the hard (malignant) and soft (benign) energy concepts in the first place. It critically evaluates the environmental impacts of major renewable energy sources. It then comes up with the broad conclusion that renewable energy sources are not the panacea they are popularly perceived to be; indeed in some cases their adverse environmental impacts can be as strongly negative as the impacts of conventional energy sources. The paper also dwells on the steps we need to take so that we can utilize renewable energy sources without facing environmental backlashes of the type we got from hydropower projects.
The Likely Adverse Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Sources
Abbasi, S.; Abbasi, N. (2000). The Likely Adverse Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Sources. Applied Energy, 65(1-4), 121-144.