Environmental impact assessment of renewable power plants (solar -wind): a case study of Salafchegan special economic zone

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Natural Resource and Environment Faculty, Islamic Azad University, Research and Science Unit, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Energy Systems Engineering, Faculty of Mechanics, Khaje Nasir Al-Din Tusi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


Utilizing renewable energies is one of the most effective ways to deal with environmental pollution resulting from fossil fuel power plants. Renewable energy sources are considered as clean energy sources, but some of these power plants may change the ecosystem of the region and disturb the ecological balance. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the environmental impacts of renewable energy (solar-wind) in Salafchegan- Zwaryan Special Economic Zone using the Iranian matrix and rapid impact assessment matrix (RIAM).
  Material and methods:
In this research, basic information of the area was collected and factors affecting the development of solar and wind power plants were studied based on the internet search and field observation. According to these studies, the potential environmental impacts of the implementation of renewable power projects on the physical, biological and social, economic and cultural environments were determined. These impacts were separately predicted in construction and operation phases using the Iranian matrix method and the Rapid Impact Assessment Matrix (RIAM). The Iranian matrix and RIAM, considering the effects of project implementation in both the construction and operation phases on the environmental components, are applied methods for environmental impact assessment in Iran.
Results and discussion:
The results from the Iranian Leopold and RIAM indicated that in the renewable power plant construction and operation phases, the most important positive consequence in the physical environment was related to surface water quantity and the economic, social and cultural environment associated with employment and salary. The most important negative consequences in the physical environment were related to the weather and sound quality in the biological environment related to wildlife coverage and in the social- economical-cultural environment related to perspectives and antiquities. Also, the most negative impact was related to waste and effluents, wastes disposal, risks, and hazards. Also, the most positive impact was energy supply and consumption, green space, land earning, and human resources. It should be noted that the construction phase of such projects was short and would be considered as a long-term investment for future uses.
According to the results of both matrices, the construction of solar and wind power plants, regarding the least negative consequences on the various components of the environment, was chosen as the most favorable management option, and without providing a solution, the project performance was confirmed.


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