A study on the impact of RES on soils and biodiversity has been launched
This spring, a long-term project to study the impact on soils, ecosystems and biodiversity related to the construction of large-scale power plants for the production of electricity from renewable energy sources (RES) was launched. The initiative is the result of tripartite cooperation between the Agricultural Academy, the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at BAS (IBER-BAS) and the Association for Production, Storage and Trade of Electricity (APSTE).
The project is expected to have a horizon beyond 2030 and to cover both existing power plants and future RES capacities. The first part of the study includes analysis and assessment of soil condition and biodiversity in the framework of already built and operating energy projects, compared to adjacent areas near green power plants. At the same time, the long-term activities will start, in which the research and analysis will be focused on the terrains on which new renewable capacities are to be built. The project envisages the implementation of systematic monitoring, assessment and forecast of changes in soil quality and biodiversity for the respective areas. The goal is to register the condition of soils and ecosystems before the construction of the sites, and subsequently – to monitor the impact of renewable plants after their commissioning. The results and conclusions will be described in annual reports, which will be publicly available on a special online platform.
“Conducting field research and long-term monitoring play an important role in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation activities. Cooperation with colleagues from the Agricultural Academy and APSTE will help expand the focus of research and for a broader assessment of the benefits and challenges associated with the expected increased entry of solar and wind power plants in Bulgaria”, said Professor Pavel Zehtindjiev IBER-BAS.
“Conservation and sustainable development of soils in Bulgaria is among the strategic priorities of our country. We welcome the cooperation between the academic community and the non-governmental sector, because it accelerates the transfer of knowledge and the implementation of good practices for soil protection and biodiversity by investors in renewable energy”, said Prof. Martin Banov, President of the Agricultural Academy.
“The European Union is facing an unprecedented combination of crises – climate, price and energy. RES are key to solving all three problems because they produce clean energy at a low price and reduce our dependence on imported fuels. Europe is expected to reach one terawatt of renewable capacity by 2030. Over 7,000 megawatts of new wind and solar power plants will be built in Bulgaria by the end of the decade”, said Nikola Gazdov, Chairman of APSTE.
“We are obliged to do what is necessary so that investments in new renewable energy sources are not a risk factor, but an active contribution to the protection of soils and the environment. We are grateful for the opportunity to work together with the leading scientific organizations in the sector – the Agricultural Academy and the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at BAS”, added Gazdov.