Energy is generated using a range of different fuels and
technologies and comes from either non-renewable or renewable
sources. Each stage of the process will have an environmental
A recent paper to the Joint Committee (JNCC 08 D04
March 2008) set out the non-climate change impacts of energy
production, distribution and use on biodiversity. Generally
speaking, the significantly adverse impacts of energy production
and consumption on biodiversity can be classified into four main
groups: emissions (to air, land or water); land-take; impacts
of construction; direct operational impacts (such as bird strike or
displacement of species).
A JNCC commissioned report produced in 2008 summarises
evidence of the conservation impacts of energy production in the
UK. 15 energy technologies were investigated and a more
detailed analysis provided for the eight technologies that are
likely to have the most significant impacts on the environment over
the next 50 years (namely coal, oil, gas, nuclear, wind, tidal
stream and range, biomass crops and biofuels).
Energy policy in the EU comprises a complex suite of
directives and measures that address all aspects of energy
production, distribution and pricing. Renewable energy
production is guided by the 2008 Renewable Energy and Climate
Change Package and implemented by two Directives introduced in
2009: the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Fuel Quality
Directive (FQD). Mandatory EU target have been set for
an overall 20% share for renewable energy by 2020. This target
covers three energy areas – electricity, heat and transport fuels.
The EU transport fuel target is 10%, of which at least 90% (and
probably nearly 100%) will come from biomass. The UK
Renewable Energy Strategy sets the UK 2020 target as 15% renewable
energy by 2020. The UK is working on producing a national plan to
submit to the Commission by the end of June 2010.
Biomass can be used directly to produce heat and energy or it
may be converted to produce a biofuel that is then used to produce
At a time of escalating demand for liquid biofuels for
transport JNCC produced a position statement on Transport Biofuels and Biodiversity.
A major ongoing piece of work is investigating the global impacts of
international trade in comodities derived from biodiversity,
including biomass sourced for liquid biofuels.
In May 2009 JNCC organised a one day conference to take a thematic view
across major multi-lateral environmental agreements
(MEAs). Biofuels was one of the five themes
investigated. The conference papers are available here.
Wind, tide, and wave power can all be used to generate
JNCC provides advice on nature conservation to government
and industry on renewable energy proposals in the offshore
environment. We also work closely with colleagues in the
country agencies to provide appropriate advice across the marine
Non renewable sources of energy are derived from fossil fuels:
oil, gas and coal. JNCC provides advice to government on a
number of oil and gas activities that occur throughout all
stages of development from exploration to production and through to