Headline: Supply-side options to reduce land requirements of fully renewable electricity in Europe

Renewable electricity can fully decarbonise the European electricity supply, but large land requirements may cause land-use conflicts. Using a dynamic model that captures renewable fluctuations, I explore the relationship between land requirements and total system cost of different supply-side options in the future. Cost-minimal fully renewable electricity requires some 97,000 km2 (2% of total) land for solar and wind power installations, roughly the size of Portugal, and includes large shares of onshore wind. Replacing onshore wind with offshore wind, utility-scale PV, or rooftop PV reduces land requirements drastically with only small cost penalties. Moving wind power offshore is most cost-effective and reduces land requirements by 50% for a cost penalty of only 5%. Wind power can alternatively be replaced by photovoltaics, leading to a cost penalty of 10% for the same effect. My research shows that fully renewable electricity supply can be designed with very different physical appearances and impacts on landscapes and the population, but at similar cost.

Publication Year
2020
Publication Type
Academic Articles
Citation

Tröndle, T. (2020). Supply-side options to reduce land requirements of fully renewable electricity in Europe. Plos One, 15(8): e0236958. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0236958.

DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0236958
Links
https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/rest/items/item_6000328_2/component/file_6… https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3707812
Projects involved
The Transition to a Renewable Electricity System and its Interactions with Other Policy Aims (TRIPOD)