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Landscape quality has become a fundamental issue in the development of renewable energy (henceforth abbreviated RE) projects. Rapid technological advances in RE production and distribution, coupled with changing policy frameworks, bring specific challenges during planning in order to avoid degradation of landscape quality. The current work provides a comprehensive review on RE landscapes and the impacts of RE systems on landscape for most European countries. It is based on a review by an interdisciplinary international team of experts of empirical research findings on landscape impacts of RE from thirty-seven countries that have participated in the COST Action TU1401 Renewable Energy and Landscape Quality (RELY).
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Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
DOI: 10.15201/hungeobull.68.4.1 Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 2019 (4) 317–339.
1 Department of Regional and Physical Geography and Institute for Regional Development, University of
Granada, Campus de Cartuja s/n, 18071 Granada, Spain. Corresponding author’s e-mail:
2 Department of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology, Institute of Nature Conservation and Landscape
Management, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Szent István University, Páter Károly u. 1.,
3 Department of Geography and Tourism, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland,
4 Social Sciences in Landscape Research Group, Research Unit Economics and Social Sciences, Swiss Federal
Research Institute WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf. E-mail: 
5 Hunscapes Ltd. Hunscapes Ltd., Petur u. 37. H-1031 Budapest. E-mail: 
6 ENEA, Energy Technologies Department, Photovoltaics and Smart Devices Division, Innovative Devices
Laboratory. Largo Enrico Fermi 1, 80055 Portici (NA), Italy. E-mail:
7 
8 
9 Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre, Campus Politécnico 10, 7300-555 Portalegre, Portugal. E-mail:
10 Department of Graphic Engineering, Design and Projects and Centre for Advanced Studies in Energy and
Environment, University of Jaen, Campus Las Lagunillas s/n, 23071 Jaén, Spain. E-mail:
11 Centre for System Solutions, Jaracza 80b/10, 50-305 Wroclaw, Poland. E-mail: 
12 Territoria, AyGM SL, Seville, Spain. E-mail:
13 Regional Economics and Development Research Group, Research Unit Economics and Social Sciences, Swiss
Federal Research Institute WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf. E-mail: 
14 Department of History, Geography and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Burgos, Paseo
de los Comendadores s/n, 09001 Burgos, Spain. E-mail:
15 Nürtingen-Geislingen University, School of Landscape Architecture, Environmental and Urban Planning,
Schelmenwasen 4-8, 72622 Nürtingen, Germany. E-mail:
Eects of renewable energy on landscape in Europe: Comparison of hydro,
wind, solar, bio-, geothermal and infrastructure energy landscapes
FROLOVA1CENTERI2BENEDIKTSSON3, HUNZIKER4,
KABAI5, SCOGNAMIGLIO6MARTINOPOULOS7,
HERRERO-LUQUE14 andROTH15
Landscape quality has become a fundamental issue in the development of renewable energy (henceforth ab-
breviated RE) projects. Rapid technological advances in RE production and distribution, coupled with chang-
on landscape for most European countries. It is based on a review by an interdisciplinary international team
 
participated in the COST Action TU1401 Renewable Energy and Landscape Quality (RELY).
Keywords: landscape impacts, renewable energy, energy transition, landscape quality
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.318
Over the last two decades many European
countries have adopted and implemented
policies in order to initiate a transition to more
sustainable energy systems (European Com-
mission 2009). This energy transition is based
RE) and associated systems. All these RE sys-
tems have transformed land use and, in many
cases, reshaped the landscapes of Europe. RE
has generally lower energy densities than
other sources, requiring more surface area to
produce an equivalent amount of power as
non-RE systems (and
2018) and their relative visual impact is often
higher (. 2007). Therefore, their
impact on landscape quality has become a
fundamental issue in the development of RE
projects. Local opposition based on landscape
the RE sector in Europe (and
2004; and-
 2010; and
S. 2017). In addition, rapid technological ad-
vances in the production and distribution of
to avoid the degradation of landscape quality.
Each RE system transforms the landscape in
type of RE, the impact also varies depending
on the context and scale of development and
the methods used (et al. 2018).
The main research questions were: (1)
scapes associated with them in Europe? (2)
impacts of RE infrastructures in Europe and
should be RE systems planned for converting
a landscape with elements of energy chain
into sustainable energy landscape? (4) What
are the common features and differences
between landscape impacts of hydro, wind,
solar, bio and geothermal energies, and as-
sociated energy infrastructures?
Objectives of this paper are:
1. to explore the state of REs development
in Europe that shows distribution of devel-
opment of REs and thus extension of RE
landscapes in Europe,
2. to provide a comprehensive review on
landscape impacts of each RE system type,
RE landscape types that should be carefully
planned in order to shape sustainable energy
Theoretical background
 
, M.J. 2013;
 et al. 2014; et al.
2015a, b;  and
2017; and2018;
 et al. 2018) has highlighted their im-
pacts on landscapes and their quality. Energy
landscape has become a recognized land-
 -
scape characterized by one or more elements
of the energy chain comprising combinations
of technical and natural sources of energy
within a landscape. Energy landscapes are
best understood in terms of their multiple
spatiality, including material and immaterial
dimensions (et al. 2019).
In this paper we study hydro, wind, solar,
bio- and geothermal landscapes. Their spa-
of space required for energy development
and on spatial dominance (
and2018). Renewable energy in-
frastructure creates a ‘component’ or ‘layer’
type, and ‘entity’ type of energy landscape.
The ‘component’ or ‘layer’ type of landscape
may require a large commitment of land. In
‘entity’ type landscapes, energy production
presents the predominant land use. As the
authors claim ‘entity’ energy landscapes re-
processes compared with ‘component’ en-
ergy landscapes. Finally, an ensemble of aux-
iliary elements referred to assimilation, con-
version, storage, transport or transmission of
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
energy produced is considered as ‘infrastruc-
ture energy landscapes’ ( et al.
2017), spatially unique, largely empty entities
within which other land uses are rarely pos-
sible (and2018).
RE landscapes are dynamic systems,
shaped both by natural evolution of land-
scape and constantly changing societal needs.
sideration the evolving character of percep-
tions of RE landscapes. As any landscape,
energy landscapes are also shaped by the
perceptions of the people who use, share and
value them (, K.R. 2007). Several stud-
ies have shown that whether the perception
of these landscapes will be positive or nega-
tive depends not only on its characteristics,
but also on the ‘genius loci’ shaped by rela-
tion between local people and their territory
systems of values, aspirations and beliefs,
associated to these landscapes (, M.
2017; and2018).
 
landscape. We analyze the material sub-sys-
tems of the RE landscape which are related
to the extraction and use of energy resourc-
es. Only if these sub-systems are carefully
adapted to the other landscape sub-systems,
landscape structure and functions, landscape
proved. Therefore, a comparative analysis of
planning and for shaping sustainable energy
landscapes. We explore both the substantive
and spatial characteristics of RE landscapes
of RE infrastructures and the ways to avoid
their negative impacts and to enhance their
Landscape impact is understood in this pa-
landscape. Landscape impacts of RE systems
can be negative or positive, permanent or
temporary, primary or secondary; they can
scales (, S. 2017). They also vary in nature
tial changes that arise to landscape character
and available views in a landscape from a RE
facility. Beyond the direct landscape impact
of the RE facilities, there are potentially vari-
ous negative environmental impacts with an
of landscape-related impacts: 1. direct im-
pacts on visual and aesthetical characteris-
use changes, 3. indirect landscape impacts
related to environmental issues.
Materials and methods
This paper is based on literature review col-
lected by a team of experts from the 37 COST
countries. A map and a table were prepared
that provide a European overview of pro-
duction from hydro, wind, solar, bio- and
geothermal sources, as well as the share of
RE in energy consumption.
Secondly, a comparison was made of the
commonly mentioned impacts and their
mitigation strategies were described.
The data on RE utilization and electricity
production capacities in the COST action-
member countries were complemented with
quantitative analysis on power density of land
were no comparable data on their value for
each type of RE in the European countries, we
used estimations of and
P. (2019) and et al. (2016). 
and(2019) calculated
power densities for solar, wind, geothermal,
hydro, and biomass, including consideration
ty factor. et al. (2016) calculated
the area of direct footprint for each RE type.
Finally, some essential characteristics, and
those direct and indirect landscape impacts of
RE of each landscape type that have been most
discussed in the literature, were compared
specifying sub-types of some RE landscapes.
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.320
Overview of renewable energy landscapes
in Europe and their landscape impact
The literature on the impacts of RE systems
is vast. Papers on hydropower have lost their
earlier predominance, and studies of wind and
solar energy now prevail. Studies of bioenergy
impacts are growing in number. According to
the reviewed papers, the most controversial
is wind (et al. 2019), followed by so-
lar energy. In terms of environmental impacts
system is bioenergy.
Figure 1 shows all forms of usable RE, in-
cluding primary production in each country by
type and total share in consumption. Table 1 fo-
cuses only on electricity production capacities,
specifying sub-types of some REs and provides
data for tidal, wave and ocean energy in addi-
tion to the types mentioned above, based on
to be made regarding these data. For some
RE sources, the production of energy can
regarding energy from biological sources,
which is produced in various forms (solid,
liquid or gas). The Eurostat database reports
all these categories and they are included in
bioenergy on the map.
For solar energy, the Eurostat database re-
ports two forms: photovoltaic (abbr. PV) and
electrical production and the direct production
of hot water for domestic use. These two forms
Fig. 1. Renewable energy utilization in Europe, 2016. Compiled by 
andData source
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
Table 1. Electricity production capacities for renewables and wastes in 2017, MW
Country Total Hydro Wind Solar PV Solar
thermal Geothermal Solid
biofuels Liquid
biofuels Biogases Municipal
waste Tide, wave,
European Union member states
United Kingdom
EFTA member countries
Iceland 2,707 1,995 2 – – 710.0 – – –
Liechtenstein – – – – – – – – –
Norway 33,274 31,930 1,207 – – 27.0 – 10.0 100.0
 – – – – – – – – –
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.322
geothermal energy (abbr. GE) is utilized in
two distinct forms – directly as hot water and
through conversion to electricity. The map
shows them combined. Indeed, the Eurostat
database does not distinguish between these
forms. For the thermal part of GE, reliable and
 
The map and the table give a good indication
of the overall state of RE in Europe (in 2016
and 2017), and the considerable geographical
diversity that exists in terms of RE develop-
ment. It will serve as a reference point for
the discussion of individual RE sources, their
main characteristics and landscape impacts.
match with the geography of studies on their
landscape impacts.
Hydro energy landscape
Hydro energy landscapes are the best estab-
lished among RE landscapes, probably due
to the long history of development of hydro
power. Hydro energy is the most mature tech-
nology that harnesses RE and the second most
important source in Europe, representing 22
per cent of all RE. Norway leads in terms of
absolute production, while its production is
lic, and the UK, and almost absent in countries
where the topography is not conductive: Po-
Figure 1).
The European Commission and the
European Small Hydropower Association
have set a threshold of 10 MW installed
power for distinguishing between small and
large hydropower plant (abbr. SHP and LHP)
(European Commission 2015). In 2010 nearly
21,800 SHPs were in operation within Europe
(, M. et al. 2015c). Nevertheless, in
2011 90 per cent of installed capacity in
Europe was still made up of LHPs (European
Commission 2013). Only Austria relies more
heavily on SHPs by 16 per cent of total na-
tionwide capacity of hydropower plants.
The hydropower landscape is based on col-
lection of water and utilization of potential
Table 1. (continued)
Country Total Hydro Wind Solar PV Solar
thermal Geothermal Solid
biofuels Liquid
biofuels Biogases Municipal
waste Tide, wave,
EU candidate and potential countries
Bosnia and Herzegovina
North Macedonia
European Union – 28
– Data not available. Source: Eurostat 2017.
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
energy to generate electricity (
M. and2018). Although it is often
eral types of hydropower plants exist: hydro-
electric dams, pumped-storage plants, run-
of-river plants and tidal plants. Additionally,
cording to their energy production capaci-
somewhat arbitrary (2017).
The impacts of hydropower developments
depend on type, size and the landscape in
which it is placed. Average power density of
hydropower systems varies extensively from
0.01 We/m2 to 0.11 We/m2 in large facilities
with reservoirs and up to 0.75 We/m2, in case
of large run-of-river plants (and
 2019). While the average direct
(et al. 2016). Due to the var-
ied power density of hydropower plants,
types of facilities, and the visual dominance
of hydroelectric energy infrastructures, hy-
‘components’ or ‘layers’, in case of SHP, and
‘entity energy landscapes’ in case of LHP.
Land use impacts are mentioned only in
It is commonly accepted that negative
landscape effects of large facilities could
derive from construction of power stations,
ervoirs (, J.J. et al. 2014; , R. et
al. 2015). In addition, in LHPs, dams, pow-
er stations and transmission lines are huge
structures and their presence constitutes
substantial change in landscape features
(, R. et al.-
ation caused by hydropower plants results in
dramatic changes in downstream ecosystems
and sometimes in the landscapes of entire
river basins (, M. 2010).
and considered relatively small. They often
 
infrastructure to provision of power for small
communities. SHPs also often utilize run-of-
the-river designs, which may require a small,
less obtrusive dam, diverts a portion of a riv-
er’s water into a canal or pipe to spin turbines.
Consequently, run-of-the-river designs have
risen in popularity lately. Nevertheless, indi-
vidual SHPs cover large areas and most of their
infrastructure is usually visible from the surface
while some of the infrastructures of LHPs are
located underground. Therefore, the negative
landscape impact of a large number of SHPs
could exceed that of one LHPs with equiva-
lent output (and2011;
2011; , T.H. 2014).
Diversion for electricity generation can
lead to drying up of large watercourses and
the damming of rivers can lead to the ero-
sion of the shoreline, therefore damaging soil
and biota. Increased water discharge caus-
( et al.
variations due to hydro power plants can af-
fect both physical and chemical qualities of
water (1985; , A. et al.
2009). These drastic changes in water-related
ecosystems (1985; 
2001; , A. et al.-
ulations and various other species.
However, LHPs have also positive land-
scape impacts. Large dams and artificial
tourism and local income (, M. 2010;
, R. et al. 2015).
Many adverse impacts of hydro power
help to mitigate the impact (2001).
Furthermore, utilizing existing infrastructure
for the construction of SHPs may help to re-
duce their negative impact on the landscape
(et al. 2014). Landscape impacts of
LHPs may be reduced by establishing reser-
, T.H. 1014).
Perception of visual impacts of both large
and small hydro power systems may depend
on the original state of the landscape and its
cultural value. The social norms concerning
these landscape aesthetics has been evolving
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.324
over generations, and became an important
type of landscape in many European countries
(, M. 2017; , K. et al. 2018).
Wind energy landscape
Wind energy landscapes are also relatively
common in Europe. It supplies about 11 per
cent of RE as illustrated in Figure 1. In Den-
 
share of wind in RE is highest. It is lower
in Germany, which is, however, the largest
single producing country, followed by Spain,
the UK and France (see Table 1). Large-scale
have been developed in many European
coastal countries, in particular in the UK,
 -
lands and Sweden.
Wind energy harnessing is based on using
rials or to produce electricity (
M. and  2018). WFs consist of
several individual wind turbines connected
The most prominent elements of wind energy
landscapes are the towers and turning blades
of wind turbines. Usually WFs are classi-
of turbines and their capacity. 
and(2014) classify onshore wind
farms: large (1 + turbines, 1 < MW), medium
size (single turbine, 0.5–1.0 MW), “miniwind”
(1 + turbine, < 0.5 MW), and “micro-eolic”
(single turbine, < 0.01 MW). The footprint
increases essentially for capacity larger than
1 MW (and2019).
Only about 3 per cent of land used for wind
development is directly impacted by turbines
and wind energy infrastructures, and the total
area required includes the land in between
the turbines (et al. 2016), al-
though this land can be used for agriculture,
habitats, its ecological impact spreads on this
total area required. Therefore, the indirect
While the average direct footprint of onshore
2/TWhr, depending on installed
capacity), the indirect landscape impact has
2/TWhr (Idem.).
Offshore winds generally flow at higher
speeds due to reduced interference from topog-
raphy, vegetation and the built environment,
thus turbines can produce more electricity than
onshore and at a lower height ( et al.
ence in average power densities for onshore (µ
= 3.1 ± 0.7 We/m2e/
area to produce an equivalent amount of power
Landscape issues have always been crucial
in wind power development (
2007;  et al. 2008;  et al.
2009; 2011). This landscape
as such by researchers ( 2010;
 et al. 2012). Among the numer-
ous studies on landscape impacts of onshore
WFs, the main focus is their visual/aesthetic
impact, although the impact on landscape
functions and structure of large- or numerous
small-scale WFs (Photo 1) are also important
concerns ( et al. 2004; 
M. 2007; 
Heritage 2014). Indirect landscape impacts
related to environment are also frequently
discussed (2007; MEDDE 2010),
and land-use impacts are also considered as
important issues for large-scale develop-
Wind energy landscapes are character-
ized by visually disturbing height (~ 160 m)
of wind turbines. A number of researchers
emphasize that landscape impact of WFs is
F. and
Heritage 2014). It also depends on the cu-
mulative impact of multiple WFs, which re-
quires not only environmental impact assess-
ment (abbr. EIA), but also strategic spatial
planning. Finally, landscape perception of
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
The appearance of wind energy landscape
depends on how the wind turbine is posi-
tioned in the landscape, the type of landscape,
the wind turbine’s size, and the proximity of
the observer (Danish Energy Agency 2009).
Land use issues are also important because of
requirement of a large commitment of land for
WFs developments. However, they allow oth-
er concurrent uses of that land (
M. and2018). Due to their com-
patibility with other land uses, their effect
on spatial characteristics of landscape is not
very high, therefore wind energy landscape
was conceptualized as ‘component’ or ‘layer’
type (and2018).
However, land use impacts for WFs are seen
expanded in the last decades, their landscape
impacts have only recently been investigated.
the shore where the water depth is relatively
shallow. Landscape impact assessment be-
comes essential for local communities, con-
( et al. 2017). Visual impact is con-
sidered as the most perceptible direct land-
2009;  et al. 2013).
As the distance between an offshore WF
and the shore increases, the visual impact is
impact is considered negligible (
A.R. et al.-
shore WF depends on the number and size of
day ( et al. 2013), the local en-
vironmental conditions and the movement of
the blades (and2007).
As for the negative landscape onshore
sues, they are related to the hazards that
they pose to birds and bats, noise pollution,
Photo 1. Wind farm “San Lorenzo”, Castilla y Leon, Spain (Photo by , D.)
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.326
and destruction and loss or degradation of
natural habitats (2007; MEDDE
2010; and2014).
are noise, impact on the local ecosystem and
coastal erosion (  et al. 2008;
 et al. 2014).
Many of the negative landscape impacts of
onshore WFs could be reduced by their prop-
er design, layout and location, avoiding their
visibility from particularly sensitive view-
nical monitoring, environmental surveys and
negative impacts could be reduced through
appropriate site selection (
et al. 2011) and the establishment of strategic
planning processes ( et al. 2014).
Although landscape is often cited as an
wind energy projects, its relationship with
 -
tive. From an aesthetic point of view, wind
turbines can be perceived as sculptural el-
     
association by thematic relation to modern
structures, and become associated with
mental cleanliness and utility (Department
of the Environmental, Heritage and Local
Government, Ireland 2006). The acceptance
prior experience of locals with wind devel-
opments (2009).
Onshore wind turbines may not be consid-
ered as a problem for local inhabitants, but
instead they could constitute a positive aspect
of the construction of a local landscape and
a given landscape (, M. et al. 2015a).
The development of a wind farm can act as the
stimulus for restoration and/or improvement
Heritage 2014). Agricultural and grazing
exploitation in WFs often generate positive
impact in perception of these landscapes.
, B. et al. (2018) refer to cases of uti-
lization of wind energy landscapes as educa-
tional centres and exhibition venues. Other
smart practices which improve WFs percep-
tion are the following: using wind turbines
as observation towers, utilizing their tourist
potential and to improve the awareness and
image of RE, integration with nature trails or
for improving the image of environmentally
stigmatized areas (, B. 2018).
consequence of reduced shipping, commer-
cial trawling and dredging. The mitigation of
impacts may facilitate the establishment of
large areas of seabed, and consequently, the
creation of a new habitat ( et al.
2000; et al. 2006;  et
al. 2009; and2009).
Solar energy landscape
In 2016 this type of energy provided about 6
per cent of all RE. The Mediterranean countries
and southern Germany dominate the Europe-
an solar energy map. Spain and Greece have
the highest shares of their RE production from
solar energy, and Spain, Germany and Italy
have the highest production in absolute terms.
The most common solar system for electricity
production is PV. Within the EU, Germany and
Italy are leading (see Table 1). In the Nordic and
or no utilization (see Figure 1).
Concentrated solar thermoelectric power
(abbr. CSP) is still an uncommon solution.
However, Europe has a leading position, since
Spain is the world leader in CSP with a total ca-
pacity of 2.7 GW out of 4.8 GW installed glob-
ally (EurObserv’ER 2017; et al. 2018).
Finally, solar thermal systems represent
     
has almost doubled in the last decade and
at the end of 2015 it reached 47.5 million
m² of solar collectors (32.5 < GWth) (ESTIF
2015). Regarding newly installed capacity,
Germany represents almost 40 per cent of the
 
production of hot water for sanitary uses and
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
space heating is well established in Germany
and Austria ( et. al. 2016).
Solar PV landscapes include 2 subtypes:
on-ground PV and building added/integrated
installed optimally oriented to maximize the
areas. Its additional landscape impacts are ef-
and concentrating solar towers for large-scale
facilities (and.
2017). As for the second solar PV topology,
PV modules are added (BAPV) or integrated
(BIPV) onto/into the building. If the modules
are integrated, special PV components are
used to perform additional functions than
the merely electric generation.
As for CSP landscapes they include four
types of systems: parabolic troughs, solar power
towers, linear Fresnel concentrators and Stirling
parabolic dishes
(et al.
2015; et al. 2018).
Finally, space heating and hot water pro-
duction systems can be found in two topol-
ogies: in/on building mounted and on-ground
solar thermal. In case of on-ground mounted
systems, the number of units requires a larg-
on the roof of buildings.
In spite of the highest values of power den-
sity among solar energies, CSP systems with
their µ = 9.7 ± 0.4 We/m2 (Idem.), their land use
2/TWhr) than that of
2/TWhr) (
et al. 2016). The variations of area of direct
   2/
TWhr for CSP systems Due to these charac-
teristics and their spatial extent, solar energy
landscapes can be seen both as ‘component’
or ‘layer’ type or as ‘entity energy landscape’.
The landscape impacts of solar power
facilities depend significantly on the size
of the installations as well as on their con-
centration in a certain area. Numerous au-
thors analysed landscape impacts of large
 
(and2009; 
T.J. and2010; 
and   2013;   et al.
2014); visual and aesthetic impacts, includ-
ing glare (et al. 2009; 
A. et al. 2014;  et al.
2015); landscape and habitat fragmentation
(, R.R. et al. 2014); impacts on eco-
systems (, R.R. et al. 2014) and soil
erosion (and2011).
of large-scale solar systems on landscape can
cause an important change in landscape func-
tions and structures (2016).
For solar on-ground PV and CSP the con-
cerns about visual impact and land use are
more pronounced than for BAPV/BIPV and
solar thermal systems, due to the large ar-
eas covered (
selection of appropriate location crucial
(, R.R. et al. 2014). As for CSP,
structures, the visual impact of the tall verti-
cal cooling towers and the columns of steam
released into the atmosphere have been ac-
pacts. Impacts related to water issues are also
essential, since CSP installations consume
large amounts of water and are normally sit-
uated in semi-arid areas ( et
al. 2015). Finally, the negative impacts on bio-
diversity of large on-ground PV and CSP is
considered an important issue (,
R.R. et al. 2014;  et al. 2015).
 
CSP installations on land use can be reduced
through a dual use of land for PV and ag-
riculture ( et al. 2016) or grazing
(with possible increase of crop production
and possible grass maintenance cost de-
crease), or for PV and other types of energy
also used to save land ( et al.
2010; , R.R. et al. 2014). Actually,
most National RE Action Plans of EU’s
member states do not encourage the instal-
lation of solar farms in high quality cropland
(, R.R. et al. 2014).
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.328
Some authors suggest that an appropri-
ate mitigating strategy for reducing the so-
lar PV systems visual impact is to integrate
them in a landscape and to choose sites with
a reduced visibility of PV installations or
integrate them in buildings (
R. et al. 2009;  et al. 2014;
2016). Nowadays, the im-
plementation of BIPV uses technical solu-
tions and innovative ideas that minimize
negative aesthetic impact. Design strategies
at the architectural scale have also been sug-
gested for limiting the glare impacts of PV,
such as the application of mitigation mea-
coatings) and receptors (plant shadings)
(et al. 2009).
Other strategies for generating positive
landscape impacts of solar PV systems are the
following: (1) The supporting structures of PV
can be used as land stabilization elements; (2)
ing paths); (3) PV modules can provide shade
in spaces where this is needed; (4) PV can be
designed so as to meet certain given ecologi-
cal and landscape objectives (
A. 2016); (5) Solar PV farms can be also used
for conversion of brownfield (underused,
abandoned, and often contaminated land)
in productive landscape; (6) Large-scale so-
Finally, solar power is used for the creation
of energy roads and roofs ( and
2018). This versatile character of
solar energy landscapes contributes to their
positive perception in many European coun-
tries (2010;  et al.
2013;  et al. 2014).
Geothermal energy landscapes
In Europe in 2016, geothermal sources pro-
vided almost exactly the same amount of en-
ergy as solar sources did. This is the category
that has the most uneven distribution of all
 
geological conditions. It is potentially widely
available, but its harnessing is easiest in re-
gions where the geothermal gradient is high-
er than average. This applies to several re-
gions of Europe, especially Iceland and parts
2003). Most countries either have
quite limited production, and then almost
entirely through direct use or none at all.
Geothermal resources are used either to
provide thermal energy directly or to pro-
duce electricity. In Europe, the former type
 
mal direct use relates to balneology-therapy
and spas, with district heating and green-
houses coming next ( et al.
2013). In Iceland, almost three-fourths of di-
rect use is for district heating, ~ 90 per cent of
such heating in the country is now geother-
mal (National Energy Authority 2019).
Within Europe, most geothermal electricity
by far is produced in Iceland and Italy, fol-
the largest installed capacity (see Table 1). In
Iceland, some 30 per cent of all electricity is
now coming from geothermal plants (National
Energy Authority 2019). Installed capacity in
Island in 2016 was 665 MWe (see Table 1). Two
total of 397 MWe capacity (2015). In
Germany, Portugal, France and Austria elec-
tricity production from geothermal resources
is still minuscule.
Geothermal landscape is based on the use
of geothermal energy (abbr. GE) for heat/
power generation. Geothermal resources
with a temperature of 150 °C, at surface pres-
sure frequently used as the limit (
 et al. 2015). Water from low-en-
tricity production.
Whether GE is in fact ‘renewable’ can be
debated (2002). In low-enthalpy
water, the renewability is unquestionable.
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
particular reservoir is higher than the capac-
ity of that reservoir to regenerate, the opera-
resource (2011).
Geothermal infrastructure can have a con-
siderable impact on landscapes (
  and   2003).
According to and
(2018) the power density of GE systems var-
ies from 0.08 to 14.94 We/m2, with substantial
(µ = 4,9 ± 2.9 We/m2), and low-temperature
systems (µ = 1.6 ± 1.0 We/m2). The direct foot-
(et al. 2016).
Negative visual landscape and environmen-
tal impacts of geothermal energy facilities are
the most controversial, while land use impacts
are less discussed in the reviewed literature.
In case of direct-use installations, the impact
is mostly limited to wellheads and pipelines,
but sometimes natural geothermal surface fea-
(used for electricity production), the landscape
impact is more conspicuous and wide-rang-
ing. Some of it occurs already at the research
stage, as wells/boreholes need to be drilled.
Each well pad is from 2,000 to 5,000 m2 large,
and needs an access road. Some of the research
wells become production wells, whereas oth-
ers turn out to be unsuitable for production,
yet leave the landscape altered. Following
initial research, more production wells are
added, as well as reinjection wells related to
the other end of the production process. The
linear form of gathering pipelines can be very
conspicuous in the landscape, and zigzagged
or U-shaped thermal expansion loops further
accentuate the contrast with natural forms.
Finally, the power station itself is a complex
amalgam of steam separators, turbines and
generators, cooling towers and other necessary
facilities (2015). All this consid-
ered, geothermal electricity generation usually
creates a very ‘industrial’ landscape (Photo 2).
GE is often presented to the public as almost
without any substantial environmental impacts,
cal landscape with construction. However, its
landscape impacts related to environmental is-
sues are considerable too (
H. and2003). Especially the
negative consequences, some of which can
mal changes in the soil and landslides have oc-
Photo 2. Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Station, Iceland (Photo by .)
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.330
casionally followed the building of geothermal
plants. Land subsidence can also occur with the
geothermal activity, such as springs and fuma-
roles, can be altered or may disappear.
Landscape-wise, chemical pollution may
alter vegetation in the vicinity of the power
ids. Noise from blowing boreholes and geo-
thermal plants, and the distinctive smell of
 
perception of landscape quality.
or visually interesting landscapes due to
peculiar surface formations (hot springs, fu-
maroles or craters). Due caution is therefore
necessary when planning for GE infrastruc-
 
design and engineering can mitigate some of
the unavoidable long-term negative impact.
Given the characteristics outlined above, it
is hard to envisage positive landscape chang-
es with GE development. The technology is
rather new and has not become valued as ‘in-
dustrial heritage’. In some cases, however,
unforeseen landscape impacts have turned
out to be positive. The best example perhaps
is the ‘Blue Lagoon’ in Iceland, which has
Bioenergy landscapes
Bioenergy is by far the most important category
of RE in Europe, with more than 50 per cent
of the total RE. Compared to other RE sources
ent countries, although it comes in many forms
(solid, liquid and gaseous biofuels, sometimes
with in-situ conversion to electricity). The share
of bioenergy of all REs is highest in the Baltic
States, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In ab-
solute terms, Germany is by far the largest pro-
ducer, followed by France, Italy and Sweden.
Norwegian production is very limited, and at
the other end of the spectrum are Iceland, Swit-
zerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where
bioenergy is almost absent (Eurostat 2016).
The growth of production and use of bio-
energy was spectacular in the last decade.
The leading producers since 1970s have been
Brazil and the United States, but recently sev-
eral European countries have become impor-
the Benelux countries, Spain, etc. (
B.D. and 2017). There are two
main types of bioenergy: biofuel and biomass.
generation, where the raw material is grains
or sugar beet derivatives, and advanced or
second-generation technologies, where use
is made of non-fossil, non-food materials.
 -
 
B.D. and2017). The leaders of
the bioethanol production in EU are France,
Germany and Belgium, while the top three
producers of biodiesel/hydrogenated vegetable
oils (abbr. HVO) are Germany, France and the
Netherlands ( et al. 2016). As for ad-
vanced or second-generation biofuels its pro-
past six years, due to favourable policies for its
development related to their lower greenhouse
gas emissions. Several HVO thermochemical
and biochemical plants have been built in
Finland, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy.
The term biomass refers to various types of
biological material which can be converted
into energy, a solid or liquid biofuel or other
products ( et al. 2017, 2019). There
are basically three types of biomass materials.
as: (1) energy crops grown primarily for the
production of energy; (2) agricultural/forest
residues that are generated when grains are
harvested, trees pruned/cut; (3) by-products
and organic waste that is generated in the
processing of biomass for the development
of food products, from which energy can be
recovered. Heat and power are generated ei-
ther through direct combustion of biomass or
through use of biomass for the biogas produc-
for direct combustion, while a wide range of
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
inputs is used for the production of biogas.
Main three pellet producers among the COST
action countries are Germany, Sweden and
Latvia ( et al. 2016). As for biogas,
Germany with its 8,928 biogas plants of total
capacity of 4,177 MW is the leader in biogas
production, accounting for 65 per cent of total
EU production. It is followed by Italy (2,100
plants/900 MW) ( et al. 2016).
The advantages of using bioenergy are ac-
companied, in general, by inherently problem-
atic properties (stationarity, low-energy den-
change, etc.) ( et al. 2010).
Land-use and environmental impacts are the
main concerns of the literature on bioenergy,
while visual impacts are less discussed in the
reviewed literature. Bioenergy induces direct
pre-existing agricultural activity is converted
riculture (2014). Bioenergy trans-
forms pre-existing agricultural landscapes and
their related social practices, thereby imposing
new value system on landscape (
et al. 2017). Biomass systems have very low
median power density of 0.08 We/m2 (µ = 0.13
± 0.02 We/m2), and low maximum power den-
sity (0.60 We/m2) (and
P. 2019). Therefore, large amounts of biomass
must be grown that leads to re-surfacing of
infrastructure and activity associated with bio-
mass distribution and conversion.
Bioenergy surface area requirements are
the highest among the RE technologies, with
the average area of direct footprint estimated
TWhr) (et al. 2016). In addi-
tion, biogas tends to be produced on a large
industrial scale, which in some cases leads
to important impacts on landscape character
and its decoupling from the local community
( et al. 2013).
Due to diversity of subtypes and scales
of bioenergy landscapes they may belong
both to ‘component’ type and ‘entity energy
landscape’. The biomass processing facilities
could vary in size ( et al. 2017), so
their landscape impact is scale-dependent.
Bioenergy indirect landscape impacts relat-
on soil, gaseous emissions, unfamiliar smell
and possibility of water pollution (
et al. 2015;  et al. 2016). The continued
may have very negative impacts on landscape
due to decrease of soil quality and medium-
term impacts on the landscape (
R.A. et al. 2015). There may be long time-lags
before the populations reach new equilibri-
ums after the extraction of bioenergy is initi-
ated (et al. 2016).
In order to minimize some negative conse-
quences of bioenergy production on landscape
the production of energy crops is often encour-
aged or restricted onto land considered mar-
ginal or abandoned for agricultural purposes
( et al. 2017). Another more general
strategy in bioenergy policy is to favour de-
velopment of advanced or second generation
including lingo-cellulosic material, waste and
residues or stimulate production of algae origin
biodiesel and do not compete with food produc-
tion. For landscape management and protec-
tion, the policies regulating the development of
bioenergy should be integrated into agricultur-
al, forest and environmental protection policies.
The production of second-generation biofu-
els from the valorisation of domestic and forest
waste is a route with very positive impacts in
terms of landscape and environmental value.
The recovery of waste allows them to be val-
ued, reducing the negative impacts of dumps
Europe and which have drastic consequences in
terms of landscape and environment.
Finally, positive experiences of eco-reme-
diation of degraded land by growing energy
crops (2018) and visualization of
bioenergy landscapes through using them as
a part of nature trail or incorporating bioen-
ergy facilities into historical farm buildings
of sustainable energy landscapes.
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.332
Infrastructure energy landscapes
RE installations entail an ensemble of auxil-
iary elements referred to assimilation, con-
version, storage, transport or transmission of
in general terms infrastructure energy land-
scapes include ancillary buildings, substa-
much impact on the landscape quality, or
more, than the very devices which produce
power from renewable sources (
C. 2002;  et al. 2017). Associ-
ated hazards and needed accessibility, both
directly and indirectly, discourage other land
uses along these infrastructures, sometimes
creating and dividing function between land
uses on either side of their pathway (-
In addition, the auxiliary elements may
have impacts on the materiality of historical
and natural heritage, mainly when they in-
terfere with archaeological sites or historical
(and2013). These el-
ements may also cause perceptual alterations
that compose a scene (Landscape Institute
and Institute of Environment Management
and Assessment 2013).
 
the maintenance of facilities produce an in-
creased accessibility in areas that often were
Natural Heritage 2003).
Discussion and conclusions
Today, renewable energy landscapes are part
in components, spatial extent and visual
is a considerable variety of sub-types of RE
The overview of the state of RE develop-
ments shows a great diversity and an uneven
distribution of RE landscapes in Europe.
presence of most RE types, while Bosnia and
Herzegovina have the most uniform RE land-
scape with an absolute predominance of hy-
as ‘component’ and ‘layer’ types or as ‘en-
tity energy landscape’ (Table 2). According
to the consulted literature, visual landscape
impact is the most important concern for
wind, BAPV/BIPV and BA/BI hot water and
space heating, CSP and small-scale geother-
mal energy landscape. Land use impacts is
the most cited impacts group for on-ground
solar PV, bio- and infrastructure energy
landscapes; and landscape impacts related
to environmental issues, in particular to bio-
diversity and water issues, for large-scale
hydro and high temperature geothermal
 -
sulted authors consider visual/aesthetic
landscape impacts of REs as an important
issue. The impact also depends on the land-
scape type concerned, and may be relatively
higher in rural areas with open or exposed
views. Associated infrastructures may also
Due to unique visual properties of the most
part of RE facilities combined with large
size, ordered angular geometry, and highly
cial elements to the landscape. Landscape
impacts of all the RE developments depend
on their sub-type, size and the landscape in
which they are placed. However, generally
the question of the RE project’s scale is cru-
cial. Although the small-scale projects gen-
erally have a smaller landscape impact, the
cumulative impact of multiple small-scale
projects could exceed that of one large-scale
project (
Heritage, 2014).
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
Table 2. Overview of spatial characteristics of RE landscape types and their landscape impacts
Energy landscape
Scale Spatial
spatial extent
Average energy
density1), We/m2
Average land use
2)2/TWhr Most cited group
of negative impacts
in the consulted
Most cited positive
Type Sub-type
Area of
direct total
Hydro energy small Component/layer
EL 0.01 16.86
Landscape impacts
related to environ-
mental issues impact
impacts, tourism
large Entity EL 0.11–0.71
Wind energy
Onshore small Component/layer
EL 3.1
1.31 126.92 Visual/aesthetic
Aesthetic impacts*
large Entity EL
 large Entity EL 4.2 Landscape impacts
related to environ-
mental issues
Solar energy
On-ground PV large Component/layer
EL 5.8
15.01 Land use Aesthetic impacts**
small Entity EL
Minimization of
visual impact of
solar systems
all scales Component EL
BA/BI hot water
and heating 6.7 No data
CSP large Entity EL 9.7 19.25 No positive aspects
all scales
Layer/entity EL
Possibility of co-use
for tourism (geother-
mal waters)
temperature 1.6 Landscape impacts
related to environ-
mental issues
Bioenergy Biomass Component/layer
0.08 809.74
Land use
Reduction of nega-
tive impacts***
Infrastructure No data No positive aspects
) Based onand2018. 2) Based on et al. 2016. *Possibility of land co-use for agriculture, grazing, industry, tourism etc.,
improving of image of stigmatized landscapes. -
Abbreviations: BAPV = building added (BA) photovoltaics,
BIPV = building integrated (BI) photovoltaics, CSP = concentrated solar thermoelectric power, EL = energy landscape
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.334
The extensive nature of land occupation of
a widely discussed topic too. These facilities
do not merely represent new elements in the
the landscapes concerned. Adverse, perma-
ing at a larger scale, are of greater concern in
the literature on RE impacts.
Direct land occupation of RE facilities
raises the issue of the spatial extent of low-
density renewable technologies with a large
land use footprint, termed ‘energy sprawl’
(et al. 2016). Renewable power
density means varies greatly from 0.08 for
biomass to 6.6 We/m2 for solar (
and2019). There is a consider-
on their characteristics and scale (see Table 2).
ways directly depend on power density. It
2/TWhr for bio-
mass. However, when indirect landscape im-
pact is considered, wind is estimated as one
tricity, due to the total area occupied by wind
farms and their infrastructures (
A.M. et al. 2016 and
P. 2019) (see Table 2). Interestingly, accord-
ing to the estimations of et al.
(2016), despite CSP having the highest value
of power density among RE systems, its av-
and the area of direct footprint is higher than
the average values for geothermal, solar PV
and hydro energy systems (see Table 2).
The comparison of land occupation and
production in Europe (see Figure 1), can help
to identify some critical landscape issues that
need further study. Bioenergy landscape is
the most important category of RE landscape
in Europe, not only due to the bioenergy
share in the total RE mix and its presence in
many European countries, but also owing
to its great land use footprint. The next in
importance is the wind energy landscape. In
spite of its share in the RE mix being much
lower than that of hydro energy, the second
most important source in Europe, its total
footprint is over 7.5 times more extensive.
Geothermal energy and CSP landscapes are
the less extended in Europe.
In addition, RE systems often involve
tunities for food production in agriculture
(2005;  et al. 2010)
or for tourism (  and
Landscapes that have been dominated
by extensive technical installations help
to assimilate RE developments due to the-
matic association with industrial structures
(Danish Energy Agency 2009). Appropriate
facilities. Generally small-scale deployments
are considered a way to reduce landscape
impacts of most RE infrastructures, however,
achieve long-term national targets for emis-
sion reduction (, B. 2018) and creat-
ing cumulative impact of multiple RE plants.
Strategic planning and landscape character
studies are important tools to mitigate poten-
tial adverse landscape and accumulative ef-
fects with proper siting. Landscape Character
Assessments provide a good basis for both
location and design of RE developments.
The review has revealed several gaps re-
lated to the studies of impact of RE facili-
ties that should be brought into the focus of
on the facilities necessary for energy produc-
tion, while other structures associated with
should also be located and designed with re-
spect to the character of surrounding land-
scapes. Increased research activity in these
and management of this complex issue.
Bioenergy landscapes should receive
research, due to their spatial extent and the
important role of bioenergy in the RE mix
of many countries. On the other hand, de-
spite constantly growing energy density of
Frolova, M. et al.
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 68 (2019) (4) 317–339.
should continue to be considered an impor-
tant concern, due to their considerable pres-
ence in Europe and extensive area of indirect
footprint. The considerable spatial extent of
hydro energy facilities, both due to their
European countries and large direct foot-
the future studies of their landscape impacts.
Finally, the review shows that perception
on technical and visual characteristics of RE
facilities, but also on the landscape in which
they are placed. In addition, aesthetical as-
similation of RE systems depends on histori-
velopment, on relation between local people
and their resources and possibilities to use
RE landscape for other territorial practices.
As numerous studies argue, landscapes
 
impacts of RE developments and from ´smart
practices´ developed within RE landscapes.
Therefore, we can suggest that if RE projects
are properly located and designed and are
will gradually learn to love these landscapes
and to adapt to their aesthetic properties.
Acknowledgements: This paper was elaborated in
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... The benefits of renewable energy for environment, society, and the economy have been acknowledged for a long time, despite many advantages of renewable energy sources (RES) their negative impacts are also reported [4]. One of them, which has become more and more important recently, is the impact on the landscape [5]. ...
... Most of them were located in urban poviat Katowice (17) and cieszyński (17), częstochowski (13), bielski (13), and żywiecki (9) rural poviats. Other photovoltaic power plants were located in the following rural poviats: będziński (5), bieruńsko-lędziński (6), gliwicki (7), kłobucki (5), lubliniecki (6), myszkowski (4), pszczyński (3), raciborski (1), rybnicki (1), tarnogórski (3), wodzisławski (2), zawierciański (5), and in urban poviats: Bielsko-Biała (4), Bytom (3), Chorzów (4), Częstochowa (4), Dąbrowa Górnicza (2), Gliwice (9), Jastrzębie-Zdrój (10), Jaworzno (2), Piekary Śląskie (1), Ruda Śląska (3), Rybnik (3), Siemianowice Śląskie (5), Sosnowiec (5), Tychy (2), Zabrze (8), and Żory (1). Special attention should be paid to the fact that more photovoltaic power plants are located in the cities of Silesian agglomeration in contrast to wind energy. ...
... Most of them were located in urban poviat Katowice (17) and cieszyński (17), częstochowski (13), bielski (13), andżywiecki (9) rural poviats. Other photovoltaic power plants were located in the following rural poviats: będziński (5), bieruńsko-lędziński (6), gliwicki (7), kłobucki (5), lubliniecki (6), myszkowski (4), pszczyński (3), raciborski (1), rybnicki (1), tarnogórski (3), wodzisławski (2), zawierciański (5), and in urban poviats: Bielsko-Biała (4), Bytom (3), Chorzów (4), Częstochowa (4), Dąbrowa Górnicza (2), Gliwice (9), Jastrzębie-Zdrój (10), Jaworzno (2), PiekaryŚląskie (1), RudaŚląska (3), Rybnik (3), SiemianowiceŚląskie (5), Sosnowiec (5), Tychy (2), Zabrze (8), andŻory (1). Special attention should be paid to the fact that more photovoltaic power plants are located in the cities of Silesian agglomeration in contrast to wind energy. ...
Full-text available
Current international works on strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation cite energy transition as one of the main challenges of the 21st century. Many social, economic, and ecological aspects have to be addressed, especially in regions which, for decades, relied on coal energy. One of those are changes in spatial planning and land use, which will significantly affect the landscape of those regions. One of these examples is Silesian Voivodship in Poland, where the coal-mining tradition dates back to the 17th century. This research focuses on the question of how and where renewable energy development is planned in the Silesian Voivodship, based on provisions from local spatial polices and to what extent post-mining and industrial sites are planned to be reused and how many other types of landscapes would be transformed into renewable energy landscapes. We argue that permitting development of renewable energy (RE) without appropriate regulations on where and how it should be developed may contribute to irreversible changes in the landscape and, as a result, to its degradation. Methods consisted of query and analyses of available publications, datasets, strategy and planning documents, both at regional and municipal level. The main results show that existing renewable energy and its development is mainly planned away from mining and post-mining industrial areas. In the future, this will have a significant impact on the transformation of, e.g., rural, natural and agricultural landscapes into new industrial energy landscapes, changing views and perception of these places.
... In the last two decades, the expansion of renewable energy (RE) has imposed extensive land use requirements [1][2][3][4] and resulted to major transformations of the visual character of landscapes [5][6][7][8]. Since the design of the RE equipment is mostly predefined by industrial specifications and cannot be adapted to architectural traditions and local landscape features, these projects have been strongly criticized for industrializing landscapes [9]. ...
... For comparison, in 2020 Greece was 3512 MW below [21] its target for 7050 MW for wind power capacity in 2030 [22]. Similarly, in the rest of Europe, landscape 70 quality degradation due to RE has been identified as a major issue [6,8] that has arguably contributed to opposition and that is eventually associated with the failure of more than half of the member states in meeting RE development targets based on the EU directives. ...
Full-text available
Impacts to landscapes have been identified as major drivers of social opposition against renewable energy projects. We investigate how the process of mitigating landscape impacts can be improved and accelerated, through a re-conceptualization of visibility analysis. In their conventional format, visibility analyses cannot be implemented in early planning phases as they require the finalized locations of projects as input. Thus, visual impacts to landscapes cannot be assessed until late in development, when licensing procedures have already begun and projects' locations have already been finalized. In order to overcome this issue and facilitate the earlier identification of impactful projects we investigate the reversal of visibility analyses. By shifting the focus of the analyses from the infrastructure that generates visual impacts to the areas that have to be protected from these impacts, visibility analyses no longer require projects' locations as input. This methodological shift is initially investigated theoretically and then practically, in the region of Thessaly, Greece, computing Reverse - Zones of Theoretical Visibility (R-ZTVs) for important landscape elements of the region, in order to then project visual impacts to them by planned wind energy projects. It was demonstrated that reversing visibility analyses (a) enables the creation of R-ZTV-type maps that facilitate the anticipation of landscape impacts of projects from earlier planning stages and (b) discards the requirement for individual visibility analyses for each new project, thus accelerating project development. Furthermore, R-ZTV maps can be utilized in participatory planning processes or be used independently by projects' investors and by stakeholders in landscape protection.
... This was further supported by studies such as Boavida et al. (2013) and Person (2013). Also, Frolova (2017) and Frolova et al. (2019) looked into the effect of hydropower dams on the European landscape, and the authors asserted that there is the possibility of degradation in the quality of land topography. ...
Full-text available
There are many advantages of the hydropower industry, as an environmentally friendly resource, and also some challenges that need to be overcome to fully exploit this sustainable and renewable natural resource. The primary objective of this study is to find out the impact of hydropower factors and economic growth on the agriculture industry output among the EU27 nations within the time factor 1990 to 2021. Adopting the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL), the findings show a significant positive effect could occur in agriculture industry growth of the European Union (EU13)-emerging economies using hydropower factors than in EU14-emerged economies. On one hand, among additional factors, economic growth and institutional quality contribute more positively to agriculture growth in EU13 economies than in EU14 economies. On the other hand, population density contributes more negatively to agriculture growth in EU13 economies than in EU14 economies. The findings show there can be a positive significant growth increase in the EU13 agriculture industry using fossil fuel output than in EU14 economies. The results show that growth could be sustained in the agricultural industry of the European nations by increasing the level of hydropower production as this will help in attaining sustainable development by the year 2030. This will therefore help in mitigating the effect of climatic changes due to environmental pollution. The projected calculations were seen to be reliable and valid and this was attested to by the three estimators used in the study (pooled mean group, mean group, and dynamic fixed effect). This study recommended that European nations could leverage hydroelectricity to achieve sustainable growth and development. The legislative arms of the government of these European nations should as well show more interest in green energy to achieve security and sustainable development in hydroelectricity production. Decision-makers in the EU nations should buttress more emphasis on sustainable means through which hydropower could be used to attain sustainable irrigation systems for the agriculture industry and thus minimize the demand for fossil fuels and reduce CO2-related emissions in the future tine ahead.
... In the last two decades, the expansion of renewable energy (RE) has imposed extensive land use requirements (Denholm et al., 2009;Ong et al., 2013;Sargentis et al., 2021c;Trainor et al., 2016) and resulted to major transformations of the visual character of landscapes (Apostol et al., 2016;Frolova et al., 2019Frolova et al., , 2015cSebestyén, 2021). Since the design of the RE equipment is mostly predefined by industrial specifications and cannot be adapted to architectural traditions and local landscape features, RE projects have been strongly criticized for industrializing landscapes . ...
Full-text available
The case of renewable energy has demonstrated that the integration of civil infrastructure into landscapes can be a major challenge. Negligence over impacts to landscapes and marginalization of communities affected by those impacts, perpetuates a vicious cycle of public unrest and developmental disorder. In this work, we initially investigate how civil infrastructure transforms landscapes, both quantitatively-spatially and qualitatively-perceptually. Then, utilizing the results of this investigation we propose upgrades to spatial planning and architectural design of infrastructure, aiming for its improved integration into landscapes. The study goes into more detail in the study of wind, solar, hydroelectric energy works and dams but the inferences drawn refer to all major infrastructure works. The analysis is structured in three levels at gradually decreasing spatial scales: (A) The global scale, at which a comparative assessment of the generic landscape impacts of energy infrastructure was carried out. (B) The national-regional scale, at which the spatial planning of infrastructure was investigated, focusing on visibility analyses and how they can be improved. (C) The project's site scale, at which the architectural treatment of infrastructure was investigated in terms of its costs, utility and future potential.
... Nevertheless, large-scale wind farms should receive special attention in further studies. This is mainly due to it encounters more social opposition than solar PV plants in Europe in general and in Spain in particular, not only for environmental concerns (Ferrer et al., 2012;Heuck et al., 2019;Sanz-Aguilar et al., 2015;Voigt et al., 2015), but also because of the visual and aesthetic landscape impacts (Frolova et al., 2019. In this regard, the quantity and distance for their implementation is a paramount parameter for public acceptance that also needs to be addressed by energy planning processes (Betakova et al., 2015), in order to avoid social resistance related to visual impacts of this technology and speed up its implementation. ...
The progress made in the penetration of renewable energy (RE) sources in most parts of the world is not fast enough for achieving the international climate mitigation targets. Furthermore, there is a lack of energy planning strategies, methods and tools for assessing the implementation of RE technologies which considers the social support. In this work, we present a replicable multi-criteria spatial approach based on geographical information system to estimate the potential of solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and biomass energy technologies that could be implemented in the short-term in a given territory. This potential includes environmental, technical (with economic attributes) and geographical (with social-acceptability attributes) constraints, together with existing local power plants considerations for calculating the electricity generation by technology, and then estimating its jobs creation and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. The approach was applied to the province of Jaén (Southern Spain), which has a pronounced unbalance between its inner electricity production and consumption and apparently is a territory with great technical potential for the aforementioned technologies. Results show that this province has a short-term implementable potential that would annually produce 8.9 TWh from solar PV, 911 GWh from wind energy and 683 GWh from biomass plants; which is 3.8 times greater than the current electricity consumption and would require 1.5% of the total surface of Jaén. This potential can create about 92,800 direct jobs and avoid the emissions of 3.78–8.61 MtCO2 to the atmosphere. The proposed approach can be useful for energy planning processes and for allowing decision-making to accelerate the implementation of RE power plants in order to achieve the climate mitigation goals.
... They argue that communities are perceiving landscape change as a persistent imminence. Frolova et al. [54] point out that renewable energy technologies have altered both the landscape and the land use. Principally, wind farms and solar power plants drastically change the visual identity of the landscape by adding forms of industrial and artificial components to it. ...
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The need to understand the connection between land and energy has gained prominence in the calls to opt for renewable energy as part of the climate change mitigation actions. This need derives from the fact that renewable energy resources are site-specific and require rightful access and use of land. The impacts on landscape, land tenure, and land-use patterns of constructing energy facilities are significant, and they may subsequently undermine the authority of local communities. Still, the connection between land and energy is not yet part of integrated development policies and political debates when deciding on renewable energy projects. Therefore, this study critically reviews the land–energy nexus with the aim to understand and explain how the uptake of renewable energy is shaping the land–energy nexus and how renewable energy technologies are evolving and interacting in different regions of the world, particularly in the Global South. Theoretically, the land–energy nexus tends to reflect a dual tension between those who support the rapid expansion of renewable energy projects and those who oppose it due to concerns over land pressure and social impacts. We consider that this contrast is ruled by both the ecological modernization paradigm and the environmental and social justice paradigm, as part of wider environmental and social debates. The study adopts an integrative literature review built on the analysis of existing literature and deductive logical reasoning to create new, exhaustive scientific knowledge focusing on three interdependent dimensions: land requirements and planning policy, environmental impacts, and public opposition, as an informative guidance for future research and policies. The multiple forms of social dispute and agency demonstrate that dominant narratives supporting renewables act as a modern technological fix but provide only a partial solution for the climate and energy crisis. The deployment of renewable energy creates land pressures and spatial patterns of uneven development. These are visible by numerous environmental and social outcomes, which may imperil the sustainability of the investment. Hence, there is the need of a land–energy balance as a new aspect of sustainable development.
... It is precisely this paradigm of greening the economy which means that renewable energy can be presented as an opportunity to 'develop' such areas, and which is key to the scores of renewable energy plants currently being proposed. This is the case not only elsewhere in Spain (Martinez Alonso et al., 2016) but throughout Europe more generally (Frolova, 2019). ...
... Likewise, Frolova 32 and Frolova 33 explored the influence of hydropower dams on landscapes, suggesting environmental concerns have increased more with an increasing number of hydropower small plants projects. Similarly, Frolova et al. 34 investigated the effects of hydropower dams on the landscape in Europe, concluding that rapid technological advances in hydropower production bring specific challenges during planning to avoid degradation of landscape quality. Identically, Bohlen and Lewis 35 examined the economic impacts of hydropower dams on property residential values using a geographic information system. ...
This research investigates the effect of hydropower yields on water quality in European Union participating nations from 1990 to 2019. Integrating the panel fully modified ordinary least squares, the outcomes show that water quality degradation increase with a rise in hydropower production growth. Similarly, fossil fuel, economic growth and population density are found to be increasing water resource pollution. While institutional quality is found to decrease water quality degradation and water resource pollution. The finding implies that water quality degradation in the EU27 region can be effectively increased by increasing the amount of hydropower production in sustainability procedures. This will increasingly influence the status of climate change. The evaluated outcomes are observed to be valid as they were authenticated with the panel dynamic ordinary least square and pooled ordinary least square. Therefore, it attests to the paper's uniqueness, input to the body of knowledge and novelty. The research suggests that for EU27 nations have to enhance the role of the hydropower industry in their energy mix to achieve Energy Union objectives taking into consideration the water resources pollution factor. Authorities in these nations must also focus more on investing in the growth of the hydropower industry to add more to its production and availability of renewable energy and decrease water quality degradation. The government of these nations can similarly stress the competence and sustainability of hydropower production and water resource conservation to reach energy security and reduce water quality degradation.
... Turkey ranks third in solar heating applications in the world (Weiss & Spörk-Dür, 2019). Nowadays, studies are increasing in Turkey and surrounding EU countries on the contribution of the diffusion of solar energy for increasing energy security and reducing greenhouse gases and other air pollutants (Frolova et al., 2019;G. Martinopoulos & Tsalikis, 2018;Georgios Martinopoulos, 2020). ...
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In this study, a novel solar energy need index was proposed for the proper distribution of solar power plants. Important parameters such as land use costs, regional consumption, installed solar power plants, and solar energy potential were used for this index. This index was applied to the existing solar power plants in Turkey. In addition, detailed information about the development, strategies, potential, and the regional distribution of solar energy applications in Turkey was given. Also, an energy consumption map and a solar power plant distribution map were created. According to different parameters, an important map named “Regional need map of solar power plants” of the country was created. This preliminary study was carried out to bring a new index value to literature for the balanced distribution of solar power plants and to conduct a regional need analysis for the country's future solar power plants. The indexes and maps unearthed in this study will lead researchers from other countries to carry out further studies.
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Land Consumption, Land Cover Changes, and Ecosystem Services Report is published by the Italian National System for Environmental Protection, in charge for land cover and land consumption monitoring activities in Italy. The Report, with the annexed maps and indicators data bases, analyses land processes and assesses land degradation and land consumption impact on landscape and soil ecosystem services.
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Policies and strategies to develop renewable energy and the rates of successful deployment vary from country to country. Academic literature is rife with examples of recurring problems and malpractice in the implementation of renewable energy projects. We could see each national and sectoral effort as an 'experiment' in the early phase of our attempted transition to a low carbon energy system. What lessons can we learn from a comparative analysis of these experiments? This paper seeks to draw generic lessons not from what has gone wrong but from national case studies that stand out in a best way. Through a European academic network, we have selected and analysed 51 'smart practice' case studies of renewable energy development from 20 countries. We present the outcomes of both qualitative and quantitative analysis of these case studies (smart practice criteria) and discuss a set of generic findings concerning specific types of smart practices and problems of potential transferability of projects to other regions. With regards to policy relevance, the findings can be used for evaluating portfolios of renewable energy projects developed to date and for setting guiding principles for project design, spatial planning and consent by means of cross-national learning and fertilization.
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Energy production in the United States for domestic use and export is predicted to rise 27% by 2040. We quantify projected energy sprawl (new land required for energy production) in the United States through 2040. Over 200,000 km² of additional land area will be directly impacted by energy development. When spacing requirements are included, over 800,000 km² of additional land area will be affected by energy development, an area greater than the size of Texas. This pace of development in the United States is more than double the historic rate of urban and residential development, which has been the greatest driver of conversion in the United States since 1970, and is higher than projections for future land use change from residential development or agriculture. New technology now places 1.3 million km² that had not previously experienced oil and gas development at risk of development for unconventional oil and gas. Renewable energy production can be sustained indefinitely on the same land base, while extractive energy must continually drill and mine new areas to sustain production. We calculated the number of years required for fossil energy production to expand to cover the same area as renewables, if both were to produce the same amount of energy each year. The land required for coal production would grow to equal or exceed that of wind, solar and geothermal energy within 2–31 years. In contrast, it would take hundreds of years for oil production to have the same energy sprawl as biofuels. Meeting energy demands while conserving nature will require increased energy conservation, in addition to distributed renewable energy and appropriate siting and mitigation.
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This book provides timely, multidisciplinary cross-national comparison of the institutional and social processes through which renewable energy landscapes have emerged in Southern Europe. On the basis of case studies in these countries, it analyzes the way in which and the extent to which the development of renewable energies has affected landscape forms and whether or not it has contributed to a reformulation of landscape practices and values in these countries. Landscape is conceived broadly, as a material, social, political and historical process embedded into the local realm, going beyond aesthetic.The case studies analyze renewable energy landscapes in Southern Europe on different political and geographical scales and compare different types of renewable energy such as wind, hydro, solar and biomass power. The contributors are leading experts from Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. The book is intended for researchers, graduate students and professionals interested in geography, landscape and planning.
Energy production systems all over the world are in the early stages of a structural shift from below ground fossil fuels toward above ground energy flows – i.e., solar, wind, biomass, and other forms of renewable energy. In other words, the energy transition implies a profound landscape transformation. Theories and practices in energy transition management are currently underpinned by ‘society-technology’ or sociotechnical perspectives drawn from sustainability transition studies, which foreground political-economic rhythms and institutions that contribute to infrastructure lock-in and path dependence. The significance of these dominant views notwithstanding, they are inattentive to the challenges of landscape transformation and often relegate geographic space to a backdrop upon which sociotechnical transitions take place. The purpose of this paper is to foreground a ‘society-environment’ or socioecological perspective of energy transition and, in so doing, begin to take seriously its spatial dimensions. Our approach brings the energy landscape concept into dialogue with ideas about the production of space and materiality in order to conceptualize the ways in which an energy transition is intertwined with material landscapes (e.g., landscape aesthetics and land-use patterns), territorial structures acting upon landscapes (e.g., land-use planning policy), and social values drawn from and embedded in those landscapes (e.g., emotional attachments and livelihood strategies). We apply this approach to an analysis of energy transitions on the British overseas territory of Bermuda from circa 1819 to present day. The research highlights the broader landscape transformations throughout the island's efforts to establish itself as a British Royal Navy coaling station and then as a tourist destination, and links these histories to the contemporary political ecological factors shaping renewable energy deployment on the island. Conceptually, the paper attends to the influence of society-environment relations in shaping the articulation of technological transitions in particular places and times. More specifically, the research identifies how land-use systems and landscape values contribute to ‘lock-in’ and ‘path dependency’ that must be destabilized in order to facilitate energy transitions. Practically, the paper highlights the need to integrate energy planning with collaborative land-use planning as part of energy transition management.
The transition to a low carbon future is starting to affect landscapes around the world. In order for this landscape transformation to be sustainable, renewable energy technologies should not cause critical trade-offs between the provision of energy and that of other ecosystem services such as food production. This literature review advances the body of knowledge on sustainable energy transition with special focus on ecosystem services-based approaches and methods. Two key issues emerge from this review: only one sixth of the published applications on the relation between renewable energy and landscape make use of the ecosystem service framework. Secondly, the applications that do address ecosystem services for landscape planning and design lack efficient methods and spatial reference systems that accommodate both cultural and regulating ecosystem services. Future research efforts should be directed to further advancing the spatial reference systems, the use of participatory mapping and landscape visualizations tools for cultural ecosystem services and the elaboration of landscape design principles.
In this paper, the effect of an Offshore Wind Farm (OWF) on the surrounding wave field is numerically investigated in the frequency domain through the use of a Boundary Element Method (BEM) numerical model based on the potential flow theory. The analysis is performed for regular waves of various periods and incident wave directions and for irregular waves with variable peak periods and significant wave heights. Specific cases of regular and irregular waves are compared, revealing the differences between the regular wave model and the real sea states. Through the numerical simulation of the incident wave and the scattering effects caused by the OWF, indications are provided regarding the impact of the OWF on the local wave climate. Finally, the impact of hydrodynamic interaction effects on the forces applied to the offshore wind turbines is examined. © by The International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers.
Research on place attachments and identities has made an important contribution to understanding social acceptance of low carbon infrastructure, which are often objected to by local communities. However, a focus on local attachments predominates in studies to date, neglecting the potential role of national and global attachments and identities on energy beliefs and attitudes, despite the fact that large energy infrastructures are not only local in significance or function. To investigate this, survey data was collected from a representative sample of UK adults (N = 1519), capturing place attachments at local, national and global levels, climate change concern, beliefs about power lines and support for energy system change. Findings show significant differences in infrastructure beliefs and attitudes depending upon relative strength of attachments at different levels, controlling for personal characteristics. Analyses of variance revealed that individuals with stronger national than local or global attachments were less likely to support European grid integration; those with relatively stronger global attachment were most likely to support decentralised energy and those with relatively stronger local attachment were most likely to protest against a nearby power line. In addition, those with strong attachments at local, national and global levels were most willing to reduce energy demand, and those with weak attachments were least likely to trust grid companies. Relatively stronger global than national attachment was positively associated with support for decentralised energy, with this effect partially mediated by climate change concern. Explanations for the findings and implications for future research are discussed.
One of the main drivers of landscape transformation has been our demand for energy. We refer to the results of such transformations as "energy landscapes". This paper examines the definition of energy landscapes within a conceptual framework, proposes a classification of energy landscapes, and describes the key characteristics of energy landscapes that help to define an over-arching typology of origins and expressions. Our purpose is to inform scholarly discourse and practice with regard to energy policies, decision-making processes, legal frameworks and environmental designs. We exam the existing literature, provide a critical perspective using imagery from the USA and Europe, and combine the disciplinary perspectives of geography and landscape architecture. We propose three main characteristics that contribute to the development of a typology: (1) Substantive qualification: General types of energy landscapes distinguished by dominating energy source; (2) Spatial qualification: The appearance of energy landscapes, ranging from distinct spatial entities to less recognizable subsystems of the larger environment; and (3) Temporal qualification: The degree of permanence of energy landscape ranging from relatively dynamic to permanent. Addressing these and a growing number of associated questions will promote more thoughtful protection of the landscapes we inherit while paying closer attention to the relationships between ourselves and the landscapes that surround us.
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation of climate change are the main aims of the global climate policy. Increased use of renewable energy is a central measure in achieving these goals. However, mitigation of climate change through increased use of renewable energy also has negative environmental impacts. Focusing merely on greenhouse gas emissions may lead to overseeing these other negative environmental impacts and thereby in unwanted side-effects. The aim of this review was to assess the overall life cycle impacts related to the production and use of the different renewable energy sources. Impacts were assessed for unit processes and for the Finnish national renewable energy targets as a whole. The review points out that in order to comprehensively understand the overall environmental impacts of the different renewable energy sources, a thorough life cycle assessment with a unified framework would be needed. Presently there is only limited information available or the published results are not comparable with each another. However, assessment using the Finnish National Renewable Energy Targets for 2020 also indicates that under the present targets, the overall environmental impacts of the renewable energy use are likely to be low. Main impacts or risks of impacts relate to the use of forest energy.