Energyscape – landscape strategy for renewable energy systems

The infrastructures for renewable energies, which are required for the successful transformation of the current energy system, sometimes change the landscape considerably. This project examines which combination of infrastructures in which landscape types is accepted by the population. In cooperation with energy and landscape experts, the team is developing foundations for spatial planning to help reduce the landscape conflicts with infrastructure expansion.

  • ​​Project description

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    The transformation of the current energy system depends on the successful realisation of infrastructures which have to be created in large number and will change the landscape. The planning security required for this can be achieved only if there is a sufficient level of acceptance in the population. In Switzerland at federal level sectoral plans and concepts ensure the corresponding coordination. As a rule, however, the current planning practice is geared towards a certain type of energy system with a location-specific approach, for example in the "​Transmission Lines sectoral plan" ​and for wind farms in the "Swiss wind energy concept". Both a cross-sectoral weighing of interests throughout Switzerland and also the spatial coordination for different renewable energy infrastructures and their prioritisation in the various landscape forms in Switzerland are missing for this. Although it is known that landscape perception is one of the most important factors for resistance against renewable energy infrastructures, at the same time there is a lack of knowledge about how different infrastructure types are perceived in certain landscape spaces.

  • Aim​

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    The project examines the shaping of public opinion on the effects of different renewable energy systems on the landscape. Subsequently, recommendations for the prioritisation of such energy systems in various landscapes in Switzerland are formulated. These recommendations are used as a basis for an energy sectoral plan.

    Using state-of-the-art virtual visual-acoustic simulations of renewable energy systems in different landscapes, the study participants assess the associated landscape changes. Physiological and cognitive measurements, comprising a series of indicators for assessing the landscape quality, enable the evaluation of the possible acceptance of corresponding effects. Information for the analysis of costs and benefits is also taken into consideration here, for example the number of households which are supplied with the produced renewable energy or the influence of energy production on the landscape activities such as food production or biodiversity.

    In cooperation with energy and landscape specialists, recommendations for planning foundations are being developed in a participative process.

  • Relevance

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    The transformation of the energy system requires the realisation of renewable energy infrastructures and sometimes causes considerable landscape changes. The results of the complementary study aim to help take possible obstacles and resistance, which are often based on landscape considerations, into account at an early stage. In this way they help to speed up the realisation of the infrastructures and therefore ensure the competiveness of the Swiss energy providers.

  • Original title

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    ENERGYSCAPE: Landscape strategy for renewable energy systems