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Managing spatial sustainability trade-offs: The case of wind power

Paul Lehmann, Kathrin Ammermann, Erik Gawel, Charlotte Geiger, Jennifer Hauck, Jörg Heilmann, Jan-Niklas Meier, Jens Ponitka, Sven Schicketanz, Boris Stemmer, Philip Tafarte, Daniela Thrän and Elisabeth Wolfram

Ecological Economics, 2021, vol. 185, issue C

Abstract: The deployment of onshore wind power involves spatial sustainability trade-offs, e.g., between the minimization of energy system costs, the mitigation of impacts on humans and biodiversity, and interregional equity concerns. We analyze challenges arising for decision-making if wind power generation capacity has to be allocated spatially in the presence of such trade-offs. The analysis is based on a participatory multi-criteria analysis that involved stakeholders in Germany. Stakeholders were asked to play a serious game during which they had to allocate wind power generation capacity to German states. The results of the serious game illustrate that there is no unanimously agreed ranking of sustainability criteria among the participating stakeholders. They disagreed not only on the weights of different criteria but also their definition and measurement. Group discussions further revealed that interregional equity concerns mattered when generation capacity was allocated to states. Yet, stakeholders used quite different concepts of interregional equity, including approaches of both distributional and commutative justice. The results support the importance of transparent, multi-level and participatory approaches to take decisions on the spatial allocation of wind power generation capacity.

Keywords: Equity; Germany; Renewable Energies; Participatory MCDA; Serious Game; Spatial Optimization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q01 Q42 Q51 Q57 R12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107029

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