Renewable energy sources like wind turbines and solar farms are being considered to prevent changes to the environment. However, new research shows that they might be causing some environmental changes on their own. According to a study, building wind and solar farms in the Sahara desert can increase the rainfall and can make more plants to grow in the area. Governments and energy providers all over the world are turning to wind and solar power sources to generate electricity and to replace climate-change-causing fossil fuels.
A group of researchers was curious to know how these energy sources will affect the environment as they will become more common. Since filling the sky with turbine blades and covering the ground with solar panels will be changing the environment in one way or another. The team used the Sahara desert as a testbed since it has been a site of large renewable plants in the past as well. For this, the authors looked at what the desert will look like if it was covered with wind turbines and solar panels. The researchers simulated the effect of around 79 terawatts of solar panels and three terawatts of wind turbines.
To give a clear viewpoint on this, the researchers told that the total amount of solar power added by all the world’s nations in 2017 was slightly less than a tenth of a terawatt. This research is not relevant to today’s renewable installations, but it is a number which is not entirely inconceivable in the future.