Renewable Energy and Landscape Quality (RELY)

Funding: COST Action TU1401 “Renewable energy and landscape quality (RELY)”

Duration: 2014–2018

Contact: Oliver Bender

RELY Website

In response to climate change, limited fossil fuels and rising energy demand and prices, renewable energy is being heavily promoted throughout Europe. While objectives to boost renewable energy and trans-European energy networks are ambitious, it is increasingly understood that public acceptance becomes a constraining factor, and general support for green energy does not always translate into local support for specific projects. Perceived landscape change and loss of landscape quality have featured heavily in opposition campaigns in many European countries, even though renewable energy can facilitate sustainable development, especially in disadvantaged regions rich in wind, water, biomass, geothermal or solar energy.

This Action investigates the inter-relationships between renewable energy production and landscape quality, and the role of public participation in the acceptance of renewable energy systems. The Action will develop a better understanding of how landscape protection and management, and renewable energy deployment can be reconciled to contribute socio-environmentally to the sustainable transformation of energy systems. This Action will consolidate and extend knowledge from a pan-European perspective using a modular methodological framework. This Action will enhance the science base for decision-making and develop guidelines for public participation in planning renewable energy systems. It will reveal the potential of sustainable landscape development, with innovative land uses producing synergies for landscape quality and renewable energy.

The Action is being coordinated by the University of Nürtingen-Geislingen, Germany, and by COST, the international framework for European cooperation in science and technology.