Modeling Landscape-Related Conflicts of Renewable Energy in Switzerland

Felix Kienast, Marcel Hunziker, Anna Hersperger, Boris Salak, Ulrike Wissen Hayek, Reto Spielhofer, Nica Huber, Victor R. Schinazi, Tyler Thrash, Urs Steiger, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch


In many densely populated areas different types of land use, including electricity production, compete directly for little available space. Here, the production of renewable electricity often collides with provisioning, regulating and cultural services of the landscape. In this paper we operationalize the landscape service approach and generate conflict maps between three renewable energies (wind; PV; forest biomass) and six competing ecosystem services (ES). We then applied an optimization tool (Marxan) to evaluate, assess, and quantify the trade-offs between ES provisioning and wind electricity production. Expressing different ES in comparable units and evaluating the costs to the system when these are lost versus the benefits gained from wind electricity production generated an output of possible solutions. When compared to similar studies modeling wind electricity output that avoid negative interaction with ES, the current results using the optimization tool Marxan suggest a solution requiring 13.5% fewer turbines in order to produce the same amount of energy. In a project follow-up the landscape types that bear the highest workload of renewable energy in the foreseen energy transformation are selected to perform a visual assessment/acceptance study involving the public. With sophisticated methods of virtual visual-acoustic simulations, vistas have been generated that represent scenarios of wind and PV. The vistas will then be evaluated by the public with physiological and cognitive measurements in the laboratory, as well as with a Swisswide representative survey. In the latter we will test acceptance not only on the basis of visual and acoustic stimuli but also based on attitudes towards the environment, previous outdoor or living experiences in the presented landscapes and previous experiences with renewable energy. Results should yield acceptance levels by the public for renewable energy in various landscape types.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventUFZ EnergyDays 2018: Energy Landscapes of Today and Tomorrow - Leipzig, Germany
Duration: 24 Sept 201825 Sept 2018


ConferenceUFZ EnergyDays 2018
Internet address


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