Years Active: 2009-2014

Summary

The purpose of this project is to assess the local and global impacts on Ecosystem Services from energy provision in the UK.

Further Information

Energy provision in the UK impacts upon ecosystems locally, elsewhere in the UK and elsewhere in the world. For example, nuclear power may have local terrestrial and marine impacts around the power station, but also has impacts from uranium mining and long term storage of spent fuel and contaminated items elsewhere.

The purpose of this project was to assess the local and global impacts on Ecosystem Services (ES) from energy provision in the UK. Four energy technologies were used to develop a consistent methodology which could then be applied to other technologies. A full life cycle approach was taken to assess local and global ES impacts of the four energy technologies. Global ES impacts occur when feedstocks and infrastructure are sourced from abroad and also when the environmental impacts cover a wide geographic area.

The project was conducted in four work packages:

  • WP1 identified the location of where the impacts occur.
  • WP2 identified the impacts on ecosystem services in these locations.
  • WP3 applies the methodologies and provides a synthesis of current impacts comparing across the technologies.
  • WP4 extends the analysis to assess ES impacts for projections of potential UK future energy pathways (from UKERC 2050 and MARKAL).

The project resulted in a validated methodology which could be applied across all energy provision sectors, and all UK areas. This enables comparable assessments of the interaction between energy related activities and the delivery of ecosystem services. The methods developed can be used by the energy and associated industries and other stakeholders to be used in future environmental impact assessments.

The team consists of the University of Aberdeen, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and the University of East Anglia.

Key Outputs

  • Wang S.F., Wang S.C. Hastings A., Pogson M., Smith P. (2011). Economic and Greenhouse Gas Costs of Miscanthus Supply Chains in the UK. Global Change Biology-Bioenergy, doi: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2011.01125.