Laura Gusatu

Spatiotemporal assessment of the space suitability in the context of the transition towards renewable energy: The case of the North Sea area


Country of origin: Romania
University: University of Groningen
Supervisor: Professor Claudia Yamu / co-supervisor: Professor Andre Faaij / day-to-day supervisor: assistant Professor Christian Zuidema
Industry partners: WPD Windmanager, Germany


In the light of sustained climate change mitigation and prominent energy system transition, as well as growing land claims on and offshore, the impact of future renewable infrastructure on land and sea use is gaining increasing attention. This study aims to apply the spatial, legal and environmental potentials and constraints considered in the space allocation process in order to identify suitable locations for the future energy infrastructure in the North Sea area. The challenges and problems emerged are centered on the scarcity of space, when dealing with the competitive claims for the land and sea use. Added to this, the diverse legal framework but also the degrees of ecological impact of future energy developments, the economic costs and the possible synergies (between the future renewables and the existing energy grid) will be addressed in this study. 

The two secondment partners (WPD Windmanager and University of Flensburg, Germany) will bring an important contribution to the project through expertise, data bases and collaborations in different parts of the research process.

Project objective: expected results and contribution to society

The research will use a mixed-method approach (both qualitative and quantitative) for an integrated assessment of the factors involved in the energy transition, with regards to land and sea use. The expected results are: sets of parameters which will be considered in the allocation of space for renewables, GIS based analysis and maps illustrating the availability of space and impacts of renewables in the North Sea area, a framework for linking spatial models and energy models and policy recommendations.

In terms of societal benefits of this research, two aspects need to be presented: 

First, the findings can be used in the decision-making process that aims to better capture positive effects and counteract possible negative effects of the renewable energy projects on community development of coastal areas. Second, the methods and framework of this research are intended to be adaptable and transferable to other marine basins, so that other communities can benefit from its results.

Introduction video

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