R. Ioannidis, and D. Koutsoyiannis, A review of land use, visibility and public perception of renewable energy in the context of landscape impact, Applied Energy, 276, 115367, doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.115367, 2020.
Landscape impacts associated with aesthetics have been a persistent cause of opposition against renewable energy projects. However, the current uncertainty over the spatial extents and the rationality of reported impacts impedes the development of optimal strategies for their mitigation. In this paper, a typology of landscape impacts is formed for hydroelectric, wind and solar energy through the review of three metrics that have been used extensively for impact-assessment: land use, visibility and public perception. Additionally, a generic landscape-impact ranking is formed, based on data from realized projects, demonstrating that hydroelectric energy has been the least impactful to landscapes per unit energy generation, followed by solar and wind energy, respectively. More importantly, the analysis highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each technology, in a landscape impact context, and demonstrates that, depending on landscape attributes, any technology can potentially be the least impactful. Finally, a holistic approach is proposed for future research and policy for the integration of renewable energy to landscapes, introducing the maximum utilization of the advantages of each technology as an additional strategy in an effort to expand beyond the mitigation of negative impacts.
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