Späth, Leonhard (2018). Large-scale photovoltaics? Yes please, but not like this! Insights on different perspectives underlying the trade-off between land use and renewable electricity development. Energy Policy, 122, 429-437. (Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2018.07.029)

Abstract: The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector requires an increase in renewable generation capacity. However, the necessary space for power generation infrastructure can be in conflict with other uses of available land and different perspectives on how the development of renewable electricity should occur can lead to stakeholder oppositions. In an explorative study, I used Q methodology to inquire how affected stakeholders perceived the development of a photovoltaic solar park in Switzerland. This allowed me to identify possible ways to alleviate conflicts between designating land for agricultural use and renewable electricity development. The results show that while most identified worldviews among stakeholders agreed large roof surfaces should be prioritized for solar panels, remaining divergences explain tensions that threatened the realization of the solar park. Two perspectives were in conflict: on one side, actors defending a strict protection of agricultural land; on the other, actors who considered it appropriate to build solar panels on fields. The results also suggest that renewable energy expansion should preserve a balance between large-scale and small-scale photovoltaic power development to be socially acceptable amongst a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

Leonhard Späth <leonhard.spaeth@usys.ethz.ch> is with the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology Zürich (ETH Zürich), Institute for Environmental Decisions, Climate Policy Group, Zürich, Switzerland.

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