In the latest issue of the journal “Information”, a group of scientists demonstrate that the transition of our energy systems also needs a strong integration of spatial planning strategies and mechanisms. Society has experienced that a ‘set-aside’ policy of areas which are not needed for agricultural production is not a sufficient strategy for nature conservation. Likewise, countries, states and provinces need an active planning policy for areas to be used for bioenergy production, wind energy, solar power production, or the use of other energy carriers.
The scientists show that issues of concern emerge from an engagement in the perspectives of using landscape analyses and geographical information technology to better understand the local potentials for increasingly distributed approaches to energy production and supply. Future systems need to build on a variety of local energy sources and conversion technologies, including bioenergy. Moreover, it is recommended to investigate the possibilities of using spatial planning to ensure a multifunctional provision of ecosystem services and land allocation related to suitability and sustainability of bioenergy production.
Current research projects investigate further relationships between the complex spatial and temporal combinations of the supply, demand and infrastructure for energy within a landscape and between these aspects and the multifunctional provision of ecosystem services, such as nature conservation, food production or soil carbon sequestration. The expert group is led by Prof. Thomas Blaschke from the University of Salzburg and includes specialists from Geoinformatics and Energy modeling. Their approach includes spatial analytical methods and techniques for spatial planning purposes by producing scenarios based on different criteria and assumptions of local constraints and priorities. The researchers demonstrate these top-down approaches for several studies conducted in Germany and Austria over the last five years.
Citations and link to the original publication:
Blaschke, T., Biberacher, M., Gadocha, S., Schardinger, I., 2013. ‘Energy landscapes’: Meeting energy demands and human aspirations, Biomass and Bioenergy 55 (2013), 3-16.