Solar power schemes could protect nature reserves

March 14th, 2009 - 4:45 pm ICT by ANI  

London, March 14 (ANI): A scientist has suggested that combining solar power plants with nature reserves could help provide green energy and wildlife conservation.

According to a report in New Scientist, Michael McGuigan from the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, has come up with this suggestion.

A sanctuary for 300 tigers, for example, would cover a patch of land about 50 kilometers across.

Surrounding this with a 5-kilometre-wide ring of solar panels would create a power plant producing 60 gigawatts of electricity, according to McGuigan.

Surrounding a tiger sanctuary with a ring of solar cells would generate power for local villages.

Some of that power could be used to electrify nearby villages. That would reduce the need for rural populations to forage for firewood, removing a major source of conflict between wild animals and villagers.

According to Asir Johnsingh, an expert on tiger conservation and adviser for WWF based in Bangalore, India, where sanctuaries border villages and cultivated land, solar power plants would benefit the local population.

For example, poor communities near the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu, India, are supplied with gas cylinders for their energy needs.

But gas may become expensive, said Johnsingh. (ANI)

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