Renewable energy is potentially available in unlimited quantities. However, in densely populated countries such as Germany, numerous land use conflicts arise when renewable energy technologies are rolled out, especially regarding onshore wind energy. In this area of conflict, the WindGISKI research project is developing and evaluating a geographic information system (GIS) based on artificial intelligence (AI). This is intended to systematize and automate the identification and evaluation of potential areas for wind power plants. This should improve the number and quality of future designated potential areas for wind energy use. The GIS should not only consider technical, geographical, and economic potentials of possible wind energy areas, but also include ecological and social factors.
The working group "Organization & Innovation" at the University of Oldenburg is part of the WindGISKI project network. The project is funded by the "KI-Lighthouses" program of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) and will run until Nov. 30, 2024. Other partners in the project network are the Institute for Statics and Dynamics (ISD), the Institute for Information Processing (TNT) (both University of Hannover), the Institute for Integrated Production Hannover gGmbH (IPH), Nefino GmbH, the Institute for Wind Energy (fk-wind, Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences and Arts), the Working Group for Regional Structural and Environmental Research GmbH (ARSU, Oldenburg), and the Association of Renewable Energies Lower Saxony / Bremen e.V. (LEE, Hannover).
Bringing social science perspectives into the development of an AI application
In the subproject of the University of Oldenburg, a social science investigation of at least six completed wind energy projects will be conducted. The projects studied will be selected using a previously conducted expert-based area scoring and represent "best" or "worst cases". The course of these historical wind energy projects is analyzed in terms of their social dynamics and conflict lines. This analysis extends the focus of the WindGISKI approach to the entire planning process of wind energy plants. The goal is to understand specific influencing factors, interaction dynamics, and processes that positively or negatively affect the efficient implementation of a wind energy project. These social science findings will be fed back into the development of the AI-based GIS and will be used to optimize the potential area analysis of the AI, as well as to classify the applicability of the results
Methodically and theoretically, the subproject ties in with other projects from the working group (e.g. REENEA). Semi-structured expert interviews will be conducted with different groups of actors involved in the respective project, especially project developers and operators (SMEs, utilities, citizen energy), civil society actors (citizens, landowners, nature conservation associations, citizens' initiatives), community representatives (politics / administration) and expert survey companies. The scientific approach is based on a classical comparative case study approach of qualitative social research. If necessary, this will be supplemented by QCA (Qualitative Comparative Analysis). The empirical findings contribute to social science debates in innovation, transition and acceptance research.
Rohe, S., Chlebna, C. (2021): A spatial perspective on the legitimacy of a technological innovation system: Regional differences in onshore wind energy. In: Energy Policy, 151, 112193. doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112193