8 October 2014
Image: Niall Benvie
We're calling for a renewables revolution in harmony with nature.
How we generate our energy has huge consequences for the environment, and for wildlife.
We strongly support the UK and European commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting these commitments requires rapid deployment of low carbon technologies, and particularly renewable energy and the power lines needed, and the phasing out of fossil fuels, which are the main source of emissions in the UK and the EU.
In fact, energy generation accounts for almost 40 per cent of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, so decisions about power generation could go very right, or very wrong, for the climate and biodiversity.
That's why we strongly support renewable energy, as well as other low carbon means of generating energy, such as carbon capture and storage. It's also why we've campaigned against new coal power plant in the UK at Kingsnorth and Hunterston.
All renewable energy technologies can have impacts on wildlife and the environment if they are poorly sited and/or designed.
We therefore work to ensure that renewable energy is deployed at the scale and pace that is needed to meet the UK's climate commitments, but in a way that minimises environmental impacts. That means, for example, not building wind farms where they could damage important wildlife sites.
We will work with developers to help them avoid such impacts. For example, we worked closely with the developer of the Thames Array offshore windfarm. When they found an internationally important population of red-throated divers around the site they wanted to develop, we advised them to ensure the population was not threatened by the development. The developer responded so positively we were able to support their proposal in the end.
Where developers fail to account for our concerns, however, we will object. To date, we have had to place sustained objections on only 5.9% of windfarm proposals we have dealt with.
You can find out more about our position on different renewable energy technologies below:
Bioenergy is the catch-all term for energy from organic materials. In order to meet domestic demand, UK policies to support bioenergy production could lead to deforestation, land grabs and serious impacts on global biodiversity. More...
Coal continues to be a major energy source in the UK, generating about a third of our electricity supply, in spite of being the most climate-damaging fuel available. More...
Solar power is a particularly attractive technology because the lack of moving parts means that risks to wildlife are limited. More...
The seas around the UK offer an almost inexhaustible source of energy that can be used to generate electricity, and make an extremely important contribution to the carbon-free energy system we need if the UK is to combat climate change. More...
Wind power has a significant role to play in the UK’s fight against climate change. With the right strategic approach, it can be expanded without detrimental effects on important bird populations. The RSPB works with Government and developers, ensuring wind power contributes to the fight against climate change. More...
Connecting energy, protecting nature - Projects of common interest report
Date: 7 October 2014