Spatial Harmonizing of Protected Areas and Renewable Energy Production

Serrano Leon, H., Kraxner, F., & Leduc, S. (2015). Spatial Harmonizing of Protected Areas and Renewable Energy Production. In: Systems Analysis 2015 - A Conference in Celebration of Howard Raiffa, 11 -13 November, 2015, Laxenburg, Austria.

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Climate change mitigation requires transboundary strategies for the expansion of renewable energies (RE) that are compatible with conservation objectives. The diversity of protected areas (PAs) gives room for integration of a sustainable RE development with nature conservation, but the lack of consistency between PAs designations remains a challenge for transboundary planning.
We propose a methodology to harmonize compatibility assumptions between PA and RE potential production. The methodology is based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) System of Protected Areas in order to be independent from national and regional PA designations. Our approach is based on protection scenarios in order to address the multiple uncertainties regarding compatibility assumptions. Three scenarios were defined as: reduced, medium, and increased protection levels.
The three scenarios assigned different compatibility levels for RE potentials to the different PA classes, varying from no restrictions for RE to total incompatibility. The methodology was tested in the Alpine region for four different RE technologies: bioenergy, wind power, solar PV plants, and hydropower. A spatial analysis was carried out using GIS and the sustainable as well as the economic potential for each RE technology were determined using a techno-economic engineering model for RE systems (BeWhere) developed at IIASA.
The results showed considerable trade-offs between nature protection and the potential for RE production, with significant differences depending on the scenario assumptions. Available area and potential for RE production was notably reduced when higher restrictions were assumed (lower compatibility levels, additional buffer with restrictions to protect the strictest PAs, and exclusion of Natura 2000 sites). This study evidences the importance of clear definition of PA management objectives for strategic planning of sustainable RE expansion.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2016 14:25
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 13:23

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