Energy Portlet - Wind energy farm

There is an enormous potential for renewable energy innovation in the Arctic. Somewhat surprisingly the northern part of the world has already a long-lasting experience in harvesting energy from renewable sources.

These include hydro-power or geothermal energy while the most promising forms for the future include wind power, hydroelectric power, biomass and geothermal energy.

Many modern concepts of economic development of Arctic regions put a strong emphasis on renewable energy production as basis for productive capabilities and a further diversification of economies.

A number of sustainable energy technologies available today are reliable and cost effective. In addition, the use of renewable energy has comparatively little environmental and human health impacts; it is mostly CO2 neutral and can foster economic development.

Despite all the positive aspects - especially in terms of a CO2 free production of energy, there are also challenges related to the use of renewable energy.

A number of socioeconomic and environmental impacts have been detected in Arctic communities, especially at the micro level, and for example hydro projects in Norway and Canada have shown significant local socioeconomic and environmental impacts that require thorough consideration. In both cases major hydro projects triggered local unrest and national or even international debates over.

The same goes for windparks, where examples in Norway show local reluctance to the persistent impacts of this technology.

However, as many regions in the Arctic are among the largest consumers of hydrocarbons per capita, moving from non-renewable to renewable energy resources is recognized to be a long term process and one should think in terms of decades rather than years.

Yet the "megatrend" in Arctic communities will remain: A growing share of energy will be produced on a renewable base.

Source: Pembina Institute Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Megatrends

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