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Johns Hopkins SAIS expert develops roadmap aimed at reducing unintended environmental consequences of the renewable energy transition


Despite the benefits of renewable energy, the environmental consequences of large-scale growth of the sector can be severe, ranging from impacts to ecosystems and unmanaged waste streams. Sarah M. Jordaan, Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, notes the first step in solving potential problems with renewables is recognizing the issues that exist with them. To address potential problems, Jordaan and her colleagues created a roadmap intended to serve as a call to action and guide for policy makers to ensure climate change goals will align with sustainable development goals (SDG) as the renewable energy transition progresses.
The Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment (RD3) roadmap, which is outlined within research titled “Aligning climate change and Sustainable Development Goals with an innovation systems roadmap for renewable power,” published in Frontiers in Sustainability will anticipate and reduce the environmental impacts of a high-growth renewable transition to a low carbon future. To develop the RD3 roadmap, Jordaan and co-lead Rebecca R. Hernandez, Assistant Professor in UC Davis’ Land, Air and Water Resources department, conducted an investment assessment and surveyed 58 experts in a workshop who identified six research themes that address the environmental sustainability of renewable energy (siting, solar-wildlife interactions, wind-wildlife interactions, public acceptance, solar end-of-life, and wind end-of-life). The researchers then determined trade-offs and synergies between the six research themes and the UN’s 17 SDGs, and analyzed how well-understood they are.
As it turns out, these interactions are largely overlooked, meaning that high growth in renewables is set to result in unintended environmental impacts. Addressing these challenges with the RD3 roadmap will ensure a transition to a sustainable, low-carbon energy future.
Jordaan and Hernandez are available for interviews and background discussions on the RD3 roadmap and can also address the following:
Recommended time frame for policy makers, government entities, and international agencies to begin implementing solutions presented in the roadmap 
Importance of leveraging and sharing knowledge to mitigate environmental risks of the renewable energy transition
Strategies for effective e-waste and solar waste management
The research is available here

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Johns Hopkins SAIS

A division of Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school's interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today. 
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Friday, December 18, 2020