Agricultural land or photovoltaic parks? The water–energy–food nexus and land development perspectives in the Thessaly plain, Greece

G.-F. Sargentis, P. Siamparina, G.-K. Sakki, A. Efstratiadis, M. Chiotinis, and D. Koutsoyiannis, Agricultural land or photovoltaic parks? The water–energy–food nexus and land development perspectives in the Thessaly plain, Greece, Sustainability, 13 (16), 8935, doi:10.3390/su13168935, 2021.

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[English]

Water, energy, land, and food are vital elements with multiple interactions. In this context, the concept of a water–energy–food (WEF) nexus was manifested as a natural resource management approach, aiming at promoting sustainable development at the international, national, or local level and eliminating the negative effects that result from the use of each of the four resources against the other three. At the same time, the transition to green energy through the application of renewable energy technologies is changing and perplexing the relationships between the constituent elements of the nexus, introducing new conflicts, particularly related to land use for energy production vs. food. Specifically, one of the most widespread “green” technologies is photovoltaic (PV) solar energy, now being the third foremost renewable energy source in terms of global installed capacity. However, the growing development of PV systems results in ever expanding occupation of agricultural lands, which are most advantageous for siting PV parks. Using as study area the Thessaly Plain, the largest agricultural area in Greece, we investigate the relationship between photovoltaic power plant development and food production in an attempt to reveal both their conflicts and their synergies.

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Tagged under: Renewable energy, Environment, Water and energy