Hydro electric dam on the River Clyde, near New Lanark, Strathclyde. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Types of renewable technologies

We advise on all renewable energy technologies to help minimise their impacts on Scotland's nature and landscapes.

Hydroelectric power schemes must have CAR authorisation from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). SEPA is most likely to support hydropower developments that can contribute significantly to Scotland’s renewable energy targets with minimal adverse impacts on the water environment.

Micro-renewables can make an important contribution to electricity generation and the reduction of carbon emissions, especially from domestic and commercial buildings. Micro-renewable schemes can usually be installed with minimal impacts on nature and landscapes, especially if located in urban areas.

Developers should assess how a proposed marine renewables scheme may impact on marine species, marine habitats and coastal landscapes. Scottish Natural Heritage will work with developers to find solutions that enable development and avoid natural heritage impacts.

Bioenergy can help to mitigate climate change, and we also see that it offers ways to use land that could be beneficial to the natural heritage. But there’s also a risk that bioenergy development may cause adverse effects on biodiversity, landscape, and soil and water quality.

Birds can be badly affected by wind farm construction and operations, and wind farms can also affect Scotland’s landscapes. Developers must carry out collision risk modelling and assess impacts on birds beyond the site. They should also ensure that wind farms are sited and designed to have minimal effects.