Wind Farm Siting Using a Spatial Analytic Hierarchy Process Approach: A Case Study of the Städteregion Aachen
FCN Working Paper No. 16/2014
52 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2015
Date Written: November 2014
Wind energy is one of the most important renewable energy sources in Germany and plays a key role regarding energy and climate policy targets of the German government. However, a further diffusion of wind farms involves strong spatial implications that refer to various adverse effects on landscape (onshore wind), noise level, and wildlife. Negative environmental impacts caused by the sometimes suboptimal siting of wind farms have induced an increasing gap between the social acceptance of this technology on the global and local levels. Particularly on the local level, siting processes of wind farm projects often trigger public protest. The aim of this paper is to improve the siting assessment by providing a holistic multi-criteria decision making approach that incorporates techno-economic, socio-political, and environmental criteria, which are defined in a way that social acceptance-related issues are specifically emphasized. We apply a GIS-based Analytic Hierarchy Process approach, where a group of local experts is asked to pairwise compare the incorporated criteria in order to derive the relative importance of each criterion. The results obtained indicate that 9.4% of the study area is still available for wind energy development, whereas only 1.74% of the region is characterized by high suitability. In particular, the northern part of the region still offers substantial unexploited wind energy potential. A comparison with the location of existing wind farms and a sensitivity analysis validate the reliability and accuracy of the model results.
Keywords: Wind farm siting, Multi-criteria decision making, Analytic hierarchy process, GIS
JEL Classification: C61, Q42, R10
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