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Title: Spatial planning scale for regional renewable energy supply in the UK context
Author: Harper, Michael
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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Faced with challenges of energy security and recognition of the anthropogenic climate change, there have been ongoing international efforts to develop indigenous renewable energy resources. This transition is challenging traditional planning approaches of energy systems, with difficulties faced in both identifying suitable locations for renewable energy development, and issues in delivering projects within existing top-down governmental planning structures. Within the context of the United Kingdom, this project explored the vulnerability of cities and regions in meeting their electricity requirements through renewable energy sources. Onshore wind energy was selected as the primary focus of the study, being the most established technology in the region, with over 3000 planning applications made between 1990 and 2017. In order to create a more accurate site location model, analysis was conducted to identify the influential factors for a wind energy site receiving planning permission. This understanding was then integrated into a novel onshore wind site selection model, assessing the economic, legislative and social suitability of potential wind energy site. Finally, an overarching methodology to assess the potential for a region to meet its energy requirements through renewable energy resources was proposed, with the methodology demonstrated within a case study which considered 14 UK towns and cities. The study revealed that local demographic and political parameters appear to influence the planning outcomes of onshore wind energy projects. By integrating social constraints, the results from this onshore wind energy site modelling highlight that the exploitable wind capacity is an order of magnitude less than previous estimates. Finally, it is demonstrated that cities and regions face major restrictions in meeting their energy requirements through local renewable energy resources, and that there is the potential for resource conflict between neighbouring cities. The application of these findings can help inform planning policy and aid further renewable energy development within the United Kingdom.
Supervisor: Bahaj, Abubakr Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available