Spatial Compatibility of Renewable Energies

project duration

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2019

project sponsor

German Research Foundation (DFG)

project leader

Dr. Stephan Bosch

It has to be noted that the attitude of residents towards renewable energies and thus the location factor acceptance varies greatly from place to place. The spectrum ranges from regions in which citizens are actively involved in the transformation of energy systems to areas in which there is an accumulation of citizens' initiatives that oppose the further expansion of renewable power plants and often point to a lack of planning sensitivity. The actual reasons for these spatial disparities and the possibilities for optimising site planning have so far only been insufficiently discussed. Although there are numerous scientific studies that critically examine the oversized and in some cases not very landscape-oriented expansion of renewable energies, there is no doubt that the development of renewable energy sources in the region is a major issue. However, it was not further specified how a holistic spatial integration of renewable energies can be achieved or under which circumstances the assignment of a regenerative technology to a certain location is socially, ecologically and economically compatible. It can certainly be assumed that future generations will perceive renewable energies as familiar elements of a normal domestic landscape, as a result of which the controversial discussions about the destruction of the landscape by renewable energies are likely to subside. However, the habituation effect towards new technologies in formerly technology-free rural areas does not relieve the responsibility to establish a comprehensively balanced location and spatial planning for the land use "energy".


Within the framework of the project, the question of how the expansion of renewable energies can be made compatible and what spatial-planning implications are associated with this was therefore investigated. It became clear that the new variety of actors involved in the transformation of the energy system has led to a variety of perspectives on what can be described as a sustainable expansion and that economic factors are still of great importance. However, the complexity of planning also arises from the spatially strongly varying local contexts in which the thousands and thousands of projects are developed. The aim of the project was therefore to identify the essential parameters of a sustainable expansion of renewable energies from the diversity of potential influencing factors and to illustrate them using a regional case study and GIS. A further research question of the project was the extent to which the parameters developed can be transferred to other regions. In addition, it was of interest to what extent the ecologically conditioned protection status of numerous areas determines the location pattern of a compatible expansion and whether it appears necessary to better coordinate the competing spatial interests of nature conservation and climate protection. In a final step, the advantages and disadvantages of a technology-open spatial planning process compared to a spatially stricter arrangement via area-related use regulations, as favoured by spatial planning, were analysed, and to what extent the planning approach developed in the project can form a solid planning basis for the expansion of renewable energies.


selected publications:


  • Bosch S., Rathmann J., Schwarz L. (2019): The Energy Transition between profitability, participation and acceptance – considering the interests of project developers, residents, and environmentalists. In: Advances in Geosciences, 49, 19-29.
  • Bosch S., Schwarz L. (2019): The Energy Transition from Plant Operators’ Perspective – A Behaviorist Approach. In: Sustainability, 11 (6), 1621.
  • Bosch S., Rathmann J. (2018): Deployment of Renewable Energies in Germany: Spatial Principles and their Practical Implications Based on a GIS-Tool. In: Advances in Geosciences, 45, 115-123.
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