Wind energy expansion scenarios : A spatial sustainability assessment
Wind power plays an integral role in the transition of Germany's energy system. In addition to its positive effects (e.g. reduction in greenhouse gas emissions), wind power can also negatively affect inhabitants and the environment. With this in mind, it is important to identify the best locations for wind turbines (WTs) which take into consideration these different sustainability aspects. This paper proposes a new simplified performance index that compares and combines three key aspects in order to assess the viability of wind expansion. These include environmental impacts (bird collisions), human attitudes (settlement distances) and energy performance (annual electricity production for supply security). The index enables a comparison to be made between the sustainability of different WT spatial distribution scenarios. This index is applied to four wind power expansion scenarios whose aim is to fulfill a certain share of the gross electricity consumption in Germany through standard wind power technologies. Finally, the respective spatial expansion scenarios are compared in terms of their lowest combined impact and their sustainability performance.