About this good practice
The interregional exchange in IRENES and the analysis of the Operational Programme as well as the discussion with the stakeholders has shown that in all project regions both the topics of renewable energies (RES) and ecosystem services (ES) in practice and the linking of the different renewable energy sources to an overall mix for a 100% RES energy supply are not yet thought together. Therefore, there is a need for fundamental clarification and visualisation. Based on suggestions from the German stakeholders a first version of a digital simulation game was designed.
In this simulation game, the potential areas of an existing municipality for the nature compatible expansion of wind and solar energy are displayed on a touch-screen with a digital map. Energy generation plants can be located on these areas and the potential electricity yield at this location is calculated using averaged weather data. Two different wind turbines, a solar park and rooftop PV systems can be used for the municipal energy mix. The tool provides information on the impacts of energy sources on ecosystem services and serves as a basis for discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the respective technology in the municipality.
Vision:En 2040 is used in moderated events, in 6 small groups of 6 people a factual exchange on the energy transition takes place.
The Lower Saxon Ministry of Environment founded the project.
To develop the software, potential analyses on the vulnerability of the landscape to wind energy and to open-space solar energy needs to be carried out.
Technical equipment has to be bought.
Evidence of success
Feedback from participants shows that 'Vision:En 2040' is well suited to support local decisions. In the first events, there was a lively discussion about the expansion goals of the municipality in the context of the energy transition and the importance of protecting the ecosystem services in the immediate surroundings of the citizens. The tool was tested and professionally discussed with the IRENES stakeholders; the tool was seen as very well suited for accelerating the energy transition.
Potential for learning or transfer
The tool was discussed with the Lower Saxony IRENES stakeholders from the Lower Saxony state planning and the Environmental Ministry as well as associations and societies and regional planning. The discussions in the accompanying event and the objective justification of allocation decisions by the players highlight the great value of direct communication with citizens. In contrast to current planning tools, the tool shows the interaction of the different energy sources in the energy mix and the responsibility of the respective planning levels for the overall goal of renewable energy supply. From the results of the game, concrete tasks can be derived for both the municipal and regional planning levels as well as for individual citizens.
The tool was translated to English to present, test and discuss it with IRENES partners and afterwards the UK stakeholders. The great potential was recognized internationally and Vision:En 2040 was described as a “powerful tool”.