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Wind energy siting: Challenges in applying spatial multi-criteria for planning support

Time: Wed 2023-02-08 09.00

Location: U1, Brinellvägen 26, Stockholm

Video link:

Language: English

Subject area: Land and Water Resources Engineering

Doctoral student: Deepa Manolan Kandy , Hållbarhet, utvärdering och styrning

Opponent: Dr. Gesa Geissler, University of Natural Resources and Life Science

Supervisor: Professor Mörtberg Mörtberg, Hållbarhet, utvärdering och styrning

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QC 230116


Increasing emissions of greenhouse gases and subsequent impacts on environment and societypronounces the need for transition into renewable energy globally. Sweden aims to achieve 100 %renewable electricity by year 2040 with a major share expected to come from wind power. In this context, the national strategy developed for wind power development estimated expected shares from each County and directed the County Administrative Boards (CAB) to work in close collaboration with themunicipalities to achieve these goals. On the other hand, unsustainable wind farm siting may lead toecological and societal impacts such as noise and visual impacts, collision risk for birds and bats, etc. With these increased expectations on wind power from each county without compromising the sustainabilitytraits, the motivation to integrate Spatial Multi-Criteria Analysis (SMCA) as a planning support tool ishigh.

There are however some concerns in applying SMCA planning support tools in real-world planningcontexts. This thesis aims to support regional and municipal wind power planning by developing the REWIND methodological framework based on SMCA, with integration of GIS-based tools as well as a novel conflict score to better handle goal conflicts (Paper 1). In addition, this thesis also addresses areas of the SMCA methods that need more attention to be useful in a planning context (Paper 2). In particular, a relatively simple but still systematic weighting method is developed, which enables transparentintegration of stakeholder input to get weights that match their perception of importance and comprehend the implication of it in the form of a planning tree (Paper 2). The methodology of the thesis includes literature review, and SMCA case studies with application of the REWIND methodological framework in Västernorrland and Västra Götaland Counties, including stakeholder involvement through focus group discussions.

This thesis shows that there are several challenges associated with integration of SMCA in real-world planning contexts. For example, challenges that emerged from the focus group discussions lie inidentification of criteria and spatial indicators for different scales of planning, standardisation of spatial indicators, invisible trade-off during aggregation and weighting of these indicators, and control of weighting. For sustainable wind power planning, a systematic and transparent approach and a collaboration platform that enables planners to choose from the decision space with more clearunderstanding about the trade-off in a quantified manner can improve the acceptance of the REWIND framework into planning contexts.