Environmental Impacts

All energy-related activities change the environment in some way, for example conventional power stations emit carbon dioxide, other pollutants and reject heat to the atmosphere and hydrosphere. Renewable energy is not without impacts: wind and solar take up land and require access roads; wind power could start to affect atmospheric processes if deployed on a large enough scale; tidal power could affect water quality, biodiversity and geomorphology; wave power could impact upon surfing beaches. Not to mention the use of resources and energy in the construction of renewable energy systems. Therefore it is essential to consider the impacts of renewable energy on ecosystems services, against the baseline of increasing fossil fuel consumption and climate change.


Title: Resource assessment of large marine current turbine arrays. Researcher: Danny Coles Superviors: AbuBakr Bahaj & Luke Blunden Abstract The deployment of marine current turbines has the potential to generate a significant amount of electricity in specific locations around the world. This is highly relevant to today’s energy market, where there is a demand to […]


12 small images showing simulated velocity deficit when tidal turbines are installed at different locations around alderney

The effect of tidal stream turbine arrays upon sediment dynamics has received little attention to date due to, on one hand, lack of installed arrays and on the other lack of high resolution bathymetric survey data. However, we are now at the stage where there are some serious plans for implementing arrays of size tens […]


photo of haphazard installation of split aircon units in a tower block

Climate change is one of the largest threats both for the global economy and the local community. It is predicted that, by 2100, average temperatures could rise as much as six degrees Celsius. The UK is anticipated to become hotter and drier in summer and milder and wetter in winter even under low carbon emissions […]


 What is CCWeatherGen? The climate change weather file generator (CCWeatherGen) enables you to generate climate change weather files for the UK ready for use in building performance simulation programs. It uses the 2002 climate change scenario predictions provided by the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) (1) and is listed as ‘UKCIP02 extra‘ on the UKCIP […]


Difference in flow speed (m/s) when energy extraction is applied in the area indicated by the rectangle. Yellow to red indicates an increase in flow speed at the time-step, green to blue a decrease. White indicates that the magnitude of the change is less than 3 cm/s.

Little is known about the possible effects that a large number of tidal turbines would have on the local tidal regime. Having some idea is important, not only for the purpose of predicting power output (it could be reduced due to reduced flow speeds), but also for environmental impact assessment. Field data on these effects […]


Internal temperature on north and south sides of office building

Several University of Southampton case study buildings of different age and state of repair have been monitored over longer time periods looking at environmental parameters such as temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide concentration. Measurements were made at five minute intervals over several weeks for each building. The scope of these studies was to identify […]


graph of summer temperature in the South of the UK vs time

Human-made emissions be it from buildings, business, agriculture or transport are now commonly accepted to be the main cause of the global warming trend which is currently being experienced. The Sustainable Energy Research Group is conducting research on climate change issues by assessing future climate impacts in particular in terms of the future performance of […]