The remarkable growth of wind energy in the last twenty years has been accompanied by a rapid spread of wind turbines (WTs) in many European countries, sometimes creating new landscapes that we are supposed to call “windscapes”. This paper aims to map the EU regions characterized by a very high density of WTs in those ten EU countries, which for various reasons have become key players in the wind energy sector in Europe. We use the crowdsourced data from a participative mapping project, the OpenStreetMap (OSM), created in 2004 in order to build and share online a free editable map of the world. First, we automatically extract the geographical position of each WT, thus creating a GIS of WTs for each of the EU countries under examination. Having certified the reliability of OSM data, we have to estimate the concentration of WTs. For this reason, we assume that the search radius around each windmill corresponds to its visual impact threshold (roughly equal to 10 km). Applying the ‘point density’ function in a GIS environment, we create the map density of WTs in the study area. In order to have a clear visualization of the impact of the wind energy policies adopted by each EU member state, this map is then compared with the map of wind resources created in 1989. What emerges are two very different situations in the study area: while in the north, Germany and Denmark have seen a massive spread of WTs all over their countries, WTs in the south are mainly concentrated in only a few windy areas of Spain, Portugal and Italy. Moreover, almost 1,350 Km2 of land distributed in four member states (Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom) can be said to be characterized by a very high density of WTs (over than 200 WTs in a circle area with a radius of 10 Km).

The new "windscapes" in the time of energy transition: A comparison of ten European countries

Giovanni Mauro
2019-01-01

Abstract

The remarkable growth of wind energy in the last twenty years has been accompanied by a rapid spread of wind turbines (WTs) in many European countries, sometimes creating new landscapes that we are supposed to call “windscapes”. This paper aims to map the EU regions characterized by a very high density of WTs in those ten EU countries, which for various reasons have become key players in the wind energy sector in Europe. We use the crowdsourced data from a participative mapping project, the OpenStreetMap (OSM), created in 2004 in order to build and share online a free editable map of the world. First, we automatically extract the geographical position of each WT, thus creating a GIS of WTs for each of the EU countries under examination. Having certified the reliability of OSM data, we have to estimate the concentration of WTs. For this reason, we assume that the search radius around each windmill corresponds to its visual impact threshold (roughly equal to 10 km). Applying the ‘point density’ function in a GIS environment, we create the map density of WTs in the study area. In order to have a clear visualization of the impact of the wind energy policies adopted by each EU member state, this map is then compared with the map of wind resources created in 1989. What emerges are two very different situations in the study area: while in the north, Germany and Denmark have seen a massive spread of WTs all over their countries, WTs in the south are mainly concentrated in only a few windy areas of Spain, Portugal and Italy. Moreover, almost 1,350 Km2 of land distributed in four member states (Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom) can be said to be characterized by a very high density of WTs (over than 200 WTs in a circle area with a radius of 10 Km).
2019
3-lug-2019
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2945006
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