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Browsing by Subject "habitats"

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  • Rinne, Oula Aleksi Johannes (2022)
    Climate change and biodiversity loss are among the two most serious environmental issues humanity is currently facing. One way of mitigating climate change is to build more wind energy. In Finland, upcoming wind farms are going to increase the national wind energy capacity by almost tenfold. As more wind farms are built, helping in climate change mitigation, the negative biodiversity impacts caused by wind turbines are also increasing. Negative biodiversity effects caused by wind energy include habitat loss, avian mortalities, habitat fragmentation and avoidance behaviour in wildlife. This conflict where two desirable environmental goals have negative counter-effect on each other can be called green-green dilemma. This thesis looks at the biodiversity impacts on habitats caused by wind farms in Finland, and what would be the scale of a habitat tax paid for displacing natural habitat, that would help solve the green-green dilemma. This thesis utilizes geographical information system data of upcoming and in production wind farms and habitats to figure out which habitats are displaced by wind farms in Finland. Also, a wind farm level cost-benefit analysis was done for wind farms in production determine a scale of taxes, which would make 10 % or 25 % of wind farms with lowest net present value compared to habitat impact non-profitable. Two kinds of taxes were considered. Tax based on the quantity of habitat displaced, and a tax based on the quality of habitat displaced. For the determination of the quality of habitat, European red list of habitats was utilized in creation of a prioritization system for different habitats based on their endangerment category. With the prioritization system, each wind farm was given habitat points based on the habitats it was displacing. According to the results of the thesis, wind farms in Finland are mostly displacing woodland habitats. The second most common habitat displaced was marine habitats and the third most common were mires, bogs and fens. According to the prioritization system created for this thesis, most habitats displaced by wind farms are not considered threatened. Still, there should be some consideration about the habitats displaced by wind farms, as minority of habitats were considered threatened according to the prioritization system. Also, we cannot draw too many conclusions about the status of the habitats displaced as the prioritization system has flaws. The two different taxes looked in this thesis both ended up making mostly the same wind farms non-profitable, meaning there were outlier wind farms with low benefits with relatively high habitat impacts. Quantity of habitats-based tax which made 10 % of the wind farms non-profitable was 1.6 million euros per hectare of displaced habitat, and the higher tax rate making 25 % of the wind farms non-profitable was 2.5 million euros per hectare. The habitat quality-based tax was 510,000 € per habitat point for lower rate, and 750,000 € per habitat point for the higher rate. On average, quality tax in Finnish wind farms would be 1.75 million euros with the lower rate per hectare of habitat displaced, and 2.3 million euros per hectare with the higher rate according to the calculations in this thesis. Habitat tax can be one solution for solving the green-green dilemma. Taxes presented in this thesis are considerable higher than habitat restoration costs estimated for Finland, which are approximately between 8000 € and 15000 € per hectare, depending on the habitat restored. Still, a habitat tax needs to be high enough to have an impact on the economic decision making of wind farm developers. If a tax habitat tax would be implemented, it would be best to think about the desired effect of the tax, which will affect the scale of the tax. Also, all kinds of activities displacing natural habitat should be included in the tax, not just displacement caused by wind farms for the tax to be more comprehensive.