Spatial quality as common denominator of novel integrated concepts for renewable energy development
In the context of turn towards sustainable energy systems as one of the major societal goals at global level, broader and sustainable use of renewable energy sources (RES) accompanied by noteworthy improvements in energy efficiency are considered as essential for future sustainable energy systems. This paper aims to provide arguments that this shift can be achieved only if spatial quality expressed by territorial capital is reflected.
However, various RES and their use need to be balanced and carefully planned since they are characterized by higher spatial and temporal variability and availability. Contrary to a society based on fossil fuels to meet its energy and material demand, a low-carbon society based on RES, which are notoriously de-centralised resources, will have to draw on space and its quality as its ultimate fundament for wealth. Also, while the desirability of renewables is not doubted, comprehensive assessments of its sustainability, including territorial impacts and capital, are generally not carried out and reflected in existing policies.
Such territorial impacts and spatial challenges are determined by the presence of multiple relations between RES, socio-economic and ecosystem complexity of the territory. Commitment to the concept of territorial cohesion within the EU policies, which puts contemporary objectives such as sustainability, competitiveness and quality of life into the territorial perspective, creates increasing demands on novel approaches to the energy-conscious planning and RES deployment and utilization. Therefore, this paper attempts to support the prediction of the vital role of “territoriality” within the planning and implementation of future “robust energy landscapes”.