The European Union has committed to decarbonise by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement. While the energy sector will play a crucial role in European strategies to decarbonise, renewables and the accompanying transmission and distribution infrastructure will require space both on land and at sea.
Space is a limited and precious resource that can be used in several ways, including for:
Since there are many options for using the available space, there is a great competition over it, which can lead to the increase of conflicts.
Also, while there are different pathways available that outline different scenarios for the decarbonisation of Europe, the implementation of each of them would have different spatial and water implications for the needed infrastructure.
Although renewable energy sources and electricity grid infrastructure will require an increasing amount of space on land and at sea, a current lack of data on the needed spatial and water requirements poses a challenge towards energy system planning and concurrent policy developments.
Considering this challenge, RGI commissioned the Reiner Lemoine Institute (RLI) under the Energy&Space Workstream to model the spatial and water requirements needed for four different decarbonisation scenarios. As a result of this analysis, an interactive open-source tool was developed and a Summary Report with key findings published.
This findings of this project aim at stimulating discussions between interested stakeholders, contributing to considerations about designating suitable acceleration areas for renewables, adequately planing electricity grid deployment steps and incorporating resource-based constraints into the energy system modelling and planning.
A more detailed report will be published in late autumn 2023, following the discussions regarding the impact of this work during our Workshop Energy&Space: Overcoming the challenge of limited space and water to achieve a decarbonised energy system.
*If you received the printed version of our Summary Report at the Energy&Space Workshop, please be aware that some of calculations from the PAC Scenario 2050 area requirements have minor inconsistencies. The digital version of the Summary Report is updated with the correct results.
The below visualisation tool presents the results of a comparative analysis of spatial requirements, stemming from the implementation of different decarbonisation scenarios.
In order to use the tool in the most efficient way, please read this short tutorial which will guide you through the functionalities of the tool.
We recommend the use of this tool via desktop or laptop, as mobile screens might be too limited for the amount of data displayed. If you experience difficulties when trying to visualise the results or have question on the analysis, please contact Damiano Ottavi, Manager - Energy Systems (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Select the visualisation of your preference: either a single scenario or a comparative visualisation of two scenarios.
For results from a single scenario, click on "Single Scenario" and select one from the dropdown menu. For a comparison of different scenarios, click on "Scenario Comparison" and select the two scenarios you would like to compare.
A description of the selected scenario (or scenarios) alongside links for their data sets will show up below the boxes related to specific criteria.
Specify the criteria you would like to be analysed according to the desired time frame, the spatial resolution, measurement unit and selected technologies.
To display results for a different year related to the scenario’s implementation, please choose a desired time frame (2030, 2040, or 2050) from the axis “Target Year”.
Likewise, select whether you would like to view either the spatial or water requirements for the implementation of the specific infrastructure as outlined by the different decarbonisation scenarios.
The results can be presented in various measurement units. In case of the area requirements, these could be either square kilometres (km²), a relative percentage for area requirements in relation to the entire available space, or soccer fields. Also, please note that space requirements for offshore wind are given in relation to the offshore area and presented by colouring the onshore area. Space requirements for nature-protected area are in relation to the entire on- and offshore area. When relative space requirements of several criteria are selected, they are added up. In case of the water volume requirements, the units are either million of cubic meters (Mio. m³) or Olympic swimming pools.
Lastly, different technologies can be displayed on the map by ticking/unticking the corresponding box in the "Criteria requirements" menu, presented on the right side of the tool.
Visualise detailed information in the bar chart below the map.
You can click on a specific country or region in the map to generate a bar chart presenting the results of the chosen criteria. Alternatively, the region presented in the bar plot can also be chosen using the drop-down menu above the bar chart.
As a default, aggregated results for the European Union will be shown.
The selected criteria can be modified using the unit selection box on the right side of the bar chart without modifying the overall map results. Clicking twice on one criteria will lead the trace to be isolated within the bar chart.