The type of landscape is highly relevant. Did you investigate this influence that the type of landscape has on the perception of the energy infrastructure more closely?
The laboratory experiment provided some very interesting results in this respect. By measuring skin conductance, we were able to measure that the quantity of renewable energies influences the physiological response. A large number of installations triggers a much greater physiological response, particularly in Jura and in the infrastructure-free mountain regions, while the perception in the more populated lowlands barely changes with or without renewable energy infrastructure. The perceived coherence of the landscape increases across all types of landscapes with a small number of energy installations, except for the infrastructure-free mountain regions, while perceived coherence falls for all types of landscapes with a large number of energy infrastructure installations.
The results of «Energyscape» can be summarised as follows: combinations of wind and solar energy installations in a landscape are assessed more positively than the exclusive use of wind turbines. Overhead lines combined with solar energy installations – and even a few wind turbines – are assessed more positively or the same as only overhead lines. The type of landscape plays an important role in acceptance.
Findings for use in practice
«Energyscape» identifies a clear conflict of objectives for Swissgrid, between landscape acceptance and acceptance by directly affected citizens. From a landscape perspective, the public prefers an extra-high-voltage line in the populated lowlands. But here the acceptance of directly affected citizens is lower as they do not want a line near residential areas. As a result, new lines are diverted to the countryside, where the landscape acceptance is lower but only isolated residential buildings or farms are present. However, here the lines come into contact with landscape and conservation areas, which require special care and attention. In a further project in collaboration with the ETH Zurich, the 3D Decision Support System to support the planning of extra-high-voltage lines, we tackle the question of the route that a new line should take. It considers precisely this conflict of objectives. The results of this research project will be covered in an upcoming blog post.