Dr Alona ArmstrongSenior Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Sciences
I am currently a Natural Environment Research Council Industrial Innovation Fellow and a Senior Lecturer in Energy & Environmental Sciences. I am in the Plant, Soil and Land Systems research group within Lancaster Environment Centre and a core member of Energy Lancaster, leading the Energy & Environment Theme.
My research focuses on the implications of the low carbon energy transition on the local environment, including ecosystem function, properties and service provision. I use a range of desk, field, laboratory and modelling approaches to resolve understanding, taking a positive approach – we need to decarbonise energy supplies and there will be more land take for renewable energy infrastructure but how can we do this whilst maximising environmental co-benefits? Working collaboratively with stakeholders from across sectors is central to my work. I look to use the understanding developed to inform policy and practice, with the underpinning aim of promoting the delivery of environmental benefits, beyond that of low carbon energy, from the energy transition. Previous to my energy research, I focused on the response of peatland carbon cycling to land management perturbations.
For more information see my opinion paper on the effect of terrestrial renewables on the microclimate and carbon cycling here, a paper on the effects of wind farms on the microclimate here and another on the effect of solar parks on grasslands here.
Given the real world applicability of my research and passion to ensure environment features strongly in the energy transition, I communicate my findings to industry, policy and the wider public. I’ve written a piece on the concept behind some of her research for The Guardian Sustainable Business section, which can be found here, my research was featured on the BBC news website, here, and included in the European Commission Science for Environment Policy newsletter, here. I’ve also written a piece for The Conversation, here, on an article about the potential impacts of large-scale wind and solar in the Sahara. A short animation of the Solar Park Impacts on Ecosystem Services project can be found here, and one on floating solar here.
Projects are funded by UK research councils and industry, with full details available of current and past projects available here. Current projects include:
McArthur, S. et al. 2019, Energy Revolution Research Consortium - Core – EnergyREV. EPSRC – ISCF Prospering from Energy Revolution. EP/S031863/1.
This large consortium project takes a whole systems approach to local low carbon energy systems.
Armstrong, A. 2018-2021, Strategically-integrated renewable energy, socio-economic & environment systems (SIRE). NERC Industrial Innovation Fellowship. NE/R013489/1.
This fellowship focuses on establishing the effects of land use change for energy on the local environment and how this can be used to inform strategic energy decisions.
Armstrong, A. & White, P. 2018-2019, Solar park impacts on ecosystem services: implementation. NERC Innovation Follow-on Project. NE/R009449/1.
This project has developed a decision support tool to promote solar park management for ecosystem services and natural capital. More details can be found on the project website here.
I teach two undergraduate modules:
LEC382 Energy: Controversies & Decision-Making (laid down during my fellowship)
01/12/2018 → 01/03/2022
UK - Solar parks impacts on ecosystem services: implementation
01/01/2018 → 31/12/2019
Solar Park Impacts on Ecosystem services : a Framework for Best Practice (SPIES)
01/01/2016 → 30/06/2017
Dual Land-Use for Solar Energy and Food Production
01/10/2013 → 30/09/2016
LPIA: Developing collaborations to facilitate the optimal deployment of terrestrial solar farms
01/07/2013 → 30/06/2014
ECSG: The effect of direct and diffusion radiation on carbon cycling and plant productivity
01/05/2012 → 30/09/2014
Establishing the impact of vegetation on DOC concentrations in the context of peatland management and the mechanisms responsible
20/03/2010 → 18/04/2010
- Energy Lancaster
- Soil Plant and Land Systems