Spatial energy research

Spatial energy research

In order to limit global temperature rise, we need to increase our use of non-fossil based energy sources. These include solar and wind energy and other renewable sources of energy, such as those based on biomass. The adoption of renewable energy sources has implications for spatial planning, as solar and wind parks can take up large areas of the earth's surface. How to go about planning and implementing the energy transition is the subject of much public debate: Where should solar and wind parks be located? What are the effects of these energy parks on biodiversity? Wageningen Environmental Research combines its scientific knowledge on renewable energy with its expertise on spatial planning to offer stakeholders support in implementing energy transition measures.

Our research and expertise - what do we offer?

As governments and industry widen their search for low-carbon energy sources to mitigate climate change, Wageningen Environmental Research is conducting qualitative research on the implications of introducing renewable energy sources on a large scale. In Europe, where population densities are high and landscapes and their uses vary within relatively small areas, the introduction of large solar and wind parks requires careful spatial planning to gain political and societal support.

Wageningen Environmental Research has performed a Research through Design study that examines how landscape-based design principles can be applied to support the transition to sustainable energy use in the Netherlands and Germany. We also conduct studies on the potential effects of energy parks on nature, for example how wind turbines affect the bird population. We collaborate with other Wageningen University & Research groups to build up expertise on technological energy innovations and governance aspects of the energy transition.

We offer expertise on:

  • Qualitative landscape structure analysis (QLSA)
  • Energy landscapes: solar fields and wind parks
  • Biobased climate solutions
  • Dedicated energy crops
  • Biodiversity effects of renewable energy
  • Technical energy research
  • Quality of life in urban and rural living environments

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Our expert on spatial energy research