Land use implication of developing renewable energy resources: A case study of Atlantic Canada
The path to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 in Atlantic Canada is both time- and resource-constrained. Energy system models can be used in this context to compare climate change mitigation options and to strategically plan for meeting climate change goals through cost-effective and timely means. Motivated by these circumstances, Net Zero Atlantic is building an open-source energy system model for Atlantic Canada that will serve as a shared tool for answering questions about the future of our region’s energy system. To provide the best utility to regional decision-makers, the Atlantic Canada Energy System (ACES) model must be able to demonstrate energy system solutions that are feasible given the types and characteristics of the resources available in Atlantic Canada. A critical dimension of resource development, land use, is currently not accounted for in the optimization decisions made by the ACES model, which is consistent with the configuration of most capacity expansion energy system models. The lack of land use tracking within the ACES model and other similar models is concerning given the significant land use requirements associated with renewable energy development that have been well established within literature.