Environmental impacts of energy production
Non-renewable sources are generally more polluting than renewable sources.
However, renewables can be visually polluting eg large solar or wind farms.
In LEDCs, clearing of vegetation (biomass) for energy releases CO2 and can increase the risk of flooding and lead to desertificaion.
Transport of non-renewables is also a problem. For example, transportation of crude oil.
Oil is shipped in large tankers which can have huge envirnomental impacts if a spill occurs ( eg: Deepwater Horizon in 2010) .
Renewable sources can often be used on much smaller scales eg: mini HEP schemes in Nepal.
These provide enegy for small villages and produce no carbon emissions.
Many HEP schemes though are large scaled operations eg Three Gorges Dam, China.
In LEDCs, around 2.5billion people rely on biomass materials to meet their basic energy needs.
In most LEDCs use of fuel for cooking accounts for 90% of the total household energy consumption.
Most rural communities have no access to national grid electricity.
Biomass consumption is not a problem unless it is managed unsustainably.
In many LEDCs, women and children have the task of collecting the daily fuelwood. (often girls are taken out of school to complete this for their families)
There are also environmental impacts, such as 'over-using' the land for farming and grazing of cattle. And the removal of vegetation for fuelwood has increased the risk of erosion (soil) and flooding (less interception and more S.runoff)
Many LEDCs don't have the infrastructure like MEDCs such as large, modern power stations.
Instead, many countries have small, localised power sources such as mini HEP or several turbines to supply a community with sufficient clean, energy. This also is much more sustainable than using biomass materials ie: fuelwood, plus it is less polluting.
This technology is better-suited to these countries becuase they haven't the money or the need to build a large scale coal fired or nuclear power station.
This is where energy is reduced or limited to benefit both the environment and the consumer financially.
This can be acheived by:
1. Greater efficiency - eg more economic cars or having insulation installed in homes.
2. Use of alternative sources - eg renewables or others that are more sustainable
The UK Sustainable Development Strategy (UKSDS) recognises that everyone has the right to access a clean , safe , healthy environment - acheived by cutting pollution.
They believe that fossil fuels should slowly be phased out and replaced gradually by cleaner renewables.
They aim to :
1. toughen environmental standards on building and within industry
2. increase green public transport funding