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Volume 4 Special Volume: Wind Farms on Peatland (2008-2010): Article 9
Calculating carbon budgets of wind farms on Scottish peatlands
by D.R. Nayak, D. Miller, A. Nolan, P. Smith and J.U. Smith
Published online: 29.04.2010
The reliability of calculation methods for the carbon emission savings to be achieved in Scotland by replacing power generated from fossil fuels (and other more conventional sources) with that produced by large-scale wind farm developments is a cause for concern, largely in relation to wind farms sited on peatlands. Scottish Government policy is to deliver renewable energy without environmental harm, and to meet biodiversity objectives including the conservation of designated wildlife sites and important habitats such as peatlands. The implications for carbon emissions of developing a wind farm are, therefore, just one aspect of the suite of considerations that the planning system takes into account. This paper presents a simple methodology for prospectively calculating the potential carbon emission savings to be realised by developing wind farms on peatland, forestland or afforested peatland. The total carbon emission savings of an individual wind farm are estimated by accounting emissions from the power source that will be replaced by wind power against: loss of carbon due to production, transportation, erection, operation and dismantling of the wind farm components (the infrastructure overhead); loss of carbon due to backup power generation; loss of carbon stored in peat and forest; loss of carbon-fixing potential of peatland and forest; and carbon savings due to habitat improvement. Most of the carbon losses are determined by national infrastructure, but those from peat soil and plants are influenced by site selection and management practices. The extent of drainage around each constructed element of the wind farm is a major factor for greenhouse gas emissions.
Nayak, D.R., Miller, D., Nolan, A., Smith, P. & Smith, J.U. (2010): Calculating carbon budgets of wind farms on Scottish peatland. Mires and Peat 4: Art. 9. (Online: http://www.mires-and-peat.net/pages/volumes/map04/map04_9.php)
IMCG and IPS acknowledge the work of the reviewers.