Planning peatland windfarms with carbon calculations


Description of impact

"Following the Scottish Government’s 2017 pledge to generate fifty percent of the country’s energy consumption from renewable energy by 2030, Professor Jo Smith from the University’s Institute of Biological Sciences was commissioned by the Government to examine the impact of peatland windfarms on carbon emissions.

The research team developed a model for calculating how much carbon would be released into the atmosphere during a windfarm installation, based on several data inputs. This model then became the Windfarm Carbon Calculator: a web-based tool that now contributes to the planning process for all windfarm developments in Scotland that generate 50MW of electricity or more. "

Project summary and aims

As climate change continues to cause major environmental concern around the world, the use of renewable energy increases. By using non-fossil fuel energy sources such as the sun, wind and water, emissions of greenhouse gases can be reduced. But the increasing numbers of windfarm developments have also created cause for public debate.

Whilst many people support the use of wind turbines, some groups have made cases for the negative environmental impacts these developments can have on the landscape, and on the levels of carbon emissions generated from the construction process. Windfarms on Scottish peatlands can cause particularly high levels of carbon release, but research from the University of Aberdeen has led to better understanding of these areas and provided a way for developers to determine the environmental credibility of a potential site.

Outcomes to Date / Future Developments

Impact statusImpact Completed (Open)
Impact date20172018


  • Energy transition