Dr Alona Armstrong

Senior Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Sciences

Research Interests

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.