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1
An introduction to energy
transitions from the perspective of
social / geographical sciences.
Showcasing our (early) work in
progress
22nd
August
2023
Catherine Jones,Tom Becker , Malte Helfer, Alex Skinner
2
Our Motivations
• There is a necessity to include social and geographical science in research associated with the energy
transition. Currently, this is lacking
• (Energy) Transition needs active support and participation of Citizens, Policymakers and Stakeholders
alike
• Our approach is to build and develop relationships with policymakers, stakeholders and citizens to
evaluate the social/ spatial impact of the energy transition.
3
Our mid-term research objectives
Focus on
Social and
neighbourhood
barriers /
acceptance
Place attachment as
a factor of
perceptions/
acceptance of the
energy transition
Multi-scalar
social/spatial
analysis
Visual / aesthetic
impacts
&
land/city scape
preservation/conflicts
Local impacts:
vulnerability &
equity
Evaluation of
policy &
governance
perspectives
Community / neighbourhood energy a pathway for the transition
Planning games & playful participation
4
SolarZukunft
Catherine Jones
Phillip Dale
9
If PVs are in keeping with local city/landscapes
they will be more actively socially accepted
10
Camouflaged PV
Lab results Neighbourhood energy
simulations
Augmented reality
& 360 walk throughs
11
Shared understanding -> increase social acceptance & reduces barriers
Adapted from Geraint and Gianluca (2016)
12
Solar Energy
Preferences
Physics Lab
Scaling lab results using AR -> shared understanding
13
Pilot Study
- Evaluating the (residential) solar
energy transition in Differdange as
it is today
14
SolarZukuft
To explore local nuances in the (solar) renewable
energy transition to gain a clear understanding of
priorities related to:
• local perceptions of,
• acceptance with,
• and barriers to
The (solar) energy transition
15
Method: Investigating dynamics of the solar energy transition
Overview
• Using a case study approach to evaluate
perceptions, acceptance and barriers at
different scales of governance and
population (3) different land/cityscapes
• Developing a mixed-methods
methodology
Phase 1: Scoping exercise
• Garden fence surveys
• Expert Interviews
• Quantitative evaluation
17
Photo by Yuri Shirota on Unsplash
Quantitative Analysis
Aim: to understand the state of residential solar implementation in Luxembourg and by
corollary Differdange?
• What is the spatial distribution of residential solar PV in Luxembourg?
• Evaluate state of Solar Energy using Deep Learning processes to classify orthoimages
(Data from 2022 -> resolution of 0.1m)
• Analysis conducted for all of Luxembourg
• Literature:
• CNN to identify solar PV has been tried and tested with both high and low-resolution imagery
(Kwan, 2012.; Yu et al., 2018)
• Different image sources such as satellite or aerial (Mao et al., 2023).
• recent studies have used orthophotographic imagery with resolutions between 0.3 and 0.05m
for higher precision (de Hoog et al., 2020; Mayer et al., 2020; Sommer et al., 2018; Yuan et al.,
2016)
Alex Skinner Master thesis
18
Method: Investigating dynamics of the solar energy transition
Alex Skinner Master thesis
In 2022, in Differdange, less than 12 in every 1000 residential buildings are estimated to have implemented Solar PV ( currently 75% accuracy of model)
19
Spatial clustering of PV Implementations
Alex Skinner Master thesis
20
A garden fence survey
With ProSud Citizens Festival Differdange Summer 2023
• Mixed-method Garden Fence Survey in form of postcard booklet
• Multilingual
• French, English, Portuguese
• Playful closed survey questions
• 9 hypothesis:
• general attitude, proximity, visibility, home ownership, community initiatives, financial
commitments, investment value, place attachment and familiarity with
technology (questions inspired by Schumacher, 2019)
• Options based on :
• Active acceptance, passive acceptance, indifference, passive resistance, active
rejection (Schweizer-Ries, P., 2008 ; Schumacher, 2019 ; Rau et al, 2012 ; Hai, 2019)
• + mix of open-ended sentence completion questions
.
Aim: To gain a better understanding of local citizen perceptions of the preferences, acceptance
and barriers to implementation of the solar transition
22
Garden Fence Interviews - sample
Gender identity
Age-Groups
Sample info
Purpose: pilot the tools and get a sense of opinions
Method: convenience sampling
Differdange population: approx. 29,000
Representativeness:
for 95% confidence level with a population of 29,000 and a margin of error of
10% the ideal sample size is 96
Limitations
• Sampling bias: women filled it out for couples
• Selection bias: those attending the cultural festival; those interested in the topic
• Generalisation of data beyond Differdange (population variation)
Returns: 124 responses
23
Solar energy is…..
24
Passive acceptance of the Solar Energy Transition
Passive acceptance for energy projects
implemented at the neighbourhood scale
General desire for more information
Early findings from survey
Rejection of need for personal finance
Curiosity for Community Energy solutions
Strong Acceptance for installation on
public buildings (=roofs)
25
Expert Interviews
Planners, Architects, local stakeholders
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash
Aim : To gain a better understanding of local stakeholder perceptions of the renewable energy transition
investigating barriers to implementation and social acceptance of the solar transition
• Status: Ongoing
• 1 group interview conducted using 3 languages simultaneously (French, Luxembourgish and
English)
• Urban administrators and policy makers
• rban administrators/policy-makers
• Purpose: to explore the current state of the energy transition, understand existing priorities and the
evaluate the role of solar in the transition
• Topics:
• The local energy transition
• Solar and its role in the local energy transition
• Exploring the future
• Oportunities for knowledge exchange/ networking
.
26
Citizens have passive acceptance of the solar energy transition, but implementation is
constrained by complexity of socio-economic and political factors
-> (housing ownership structures, urban form, demographics, policy priorities, financial
impediments),
Community Energy requirement -> individuals cannot pay
Questions of scale (project, location)
Pilot study – interview findings so far…..
Helps us to gain a better cultural–cognitive understanding of how things are done
28
Next Steps for this work package
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash
Phase 2 (for workpackage on social attitudes)
• Continue interviews with range of Local/ National stakeholders and
citizens
• Develop collaborative workshops to explore priorities
• Design, implement and analyse survey on energy cultures and
worldviews to understand relationship to social acceptance /
barriers to implementation
Spatial Analysis
• Rerun models with improved accuracy
• Spatial Regression models to evaluate relationship between solar
implementatons and urban form
• Temporal analysis (2017-2023) to explore diffusion of soci-technical
system ........
PHASE 2
29
Pilot Study
- Modelling AgriPV potential
and landscape conflicts
30
Background photo by : Tobi Kellner - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=126294377
Multicriteria Suitability analysis
Aim: Evaluate potential conflict between potential AGRI PV sites & possible tourism
conflicts -> towards landscape preservations (Proof of concept)
• Conduct suitability analysis to identify land suitability for
AGRIPV
• Intregrate constraints associated with:
• Natural Environment, Physical Environment,
Built Environment
• Rank Suitablility into 4 classes (highly suitable to least
suitable)
• (limitations: no soil types)
.
CHAWIN VISAVAKORNVISIT Master Thesis
31
Evaluate potential AGRIV conflict with tourism routes and
sites
• Modelling Lines of sight analysis for tourist routes
• Vehicle tours, Biking Tours and Hiking tours
• Lines of sight analysis for specific points of interest
• Castles: hill and valley types
Suitability of AGRIPV and potential conflict with tourist routes
Land visibility from tourist
routes
Land visibility from castle
locations
32
Conclusion
On the pathway towards improving understanding
Social and
neighbourhood
barriers /
acceptance
Place attachment as
a factor of
perceptions/
acceptance of the
energy transition
Multi-scalar
social/spatial
analysis
Visual / aesthetic
impacts
&
land/city scape
preservation/conflicts
Local impacts:
vulnerability &
equity
Evaluation of
policy &
governance
perspectives
Community / neighborhood energy a pathway for the transition
Planning Games
33
Thank you & questions
34
The hypothesis on which we built the questionnaire
Social acceptance of renewable energy is more nuanced at the local level than national surveys indicate
Whilst the public is considered to be generally accepting of RES, solar energy installations have greater general acceptance nationally than if local projects are
proposed in residential neighbourhoods?
People are accepting of solar energy but distance to the installation/project impacts the likelihood of acceptance.
Solar plants have greater acceptance when they are further from the residential neighbourhoods?
People are accepting of solar energy but the scale of the plant impacts their likelihood of acceptance.
In residential neighbourhoods, solar plants have greater acceptance when they are of a smaller scale (local neighbourhood scale)
People are accepting of solar energy but the visibility of the plant impacts their likelihood of acceptance. People don’t want to be able to see
the solar energy installation.
In residential neighbourhoods solar plants have greater acceptance when they are not visible from the windows of their homes.
People are accepting of solar energy but their sense of place attachment impacts their likelihood of their acceptance.
People with stronger attachments to place/neighbourhoods will have lowers levels acceptance of acceptnce if they feel it will impact the neighbourhood.
People are accepting of solar energy but they don’t perceive the return of investment as an added value so they are reluctant to invest
Those that don’t perceive the investment of solar energy as an added value to their home are reluctant to make the transition.
People are accepting of solar energy but it is difficult to access loans
People are generally accepting of the solar energy but those with lower income are less likely to be able to afford loans for their installation
People are accepting of solar energy but the complexity of the land/housing ownership and housing situation impacts their ability to act.
Some people are accepting of solar energy but are generally late adopters of technology and are reluctant to embrace the transition as they
think its complicated?

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Energy Transitions

  • 1. 1 An introduction to energy transitions from the perspective of social / geographical sciences. Showcasing our (early) work in progress 22nd August 2023 Catherine Jones,Tom Becker , Malte Helfer, Alex Skinner
  • 2. 2 Our Motivations • There is a necessity to include social and geographical science in research associated with the energy transition. Currently, this is lacking • (Energy) Transition needs active support and participation of Citizens, Policymakers and Stakeholders alike • Our approach is to build and develop relationships with policymakers, stakeholders and citizens to evaluate the social/ spatial impact of the energy transition.
  • 3. 3 Our mid-term research objectives Focus on Social and neighbourhood barriers / acceptance Place attachment as a factor of perceptions/ acceptance of the energy transition Multi-scalar social/spatial analysis Visual / aesthetic impacts & land/city scape preservation/conflicts Local impacts: vulnerability & equity Evaluation of policy & governance perspectives Community / neighbourhood energy a pathway for the transition Planning games & playful participation
  • 5. 9 If PVs are in keeping with local city/landscapes they will be more actively socially accepted
  • 6. 10 Camouflaged PV Lab results Neighbourhood energy simulations Augmented reality & 360 walk throughs
  • 7. 11 Shared understanding -> increase social acceptance & reduces barriers Adapted from Geraint and Gianluca (2016)
  • 8. 12 Solar Energy Preferences Physics Lab Scaling lab results using AR -> shared understanding
  • 9. 13 Pilot Study - Evaluating the (residential) solar energy transition in Differdange as it is today
  • 10. 14 SolarZukuft To explore local nuances in the (solar) renewable energy transition to gain a clear understanding of priorities related to: • local perceptions of, • acceptance with, • and barriers to The (solar) energy transition
  • 11. 15 Method: Investigating dynamics of the solar energy transition Overview • Using a case study approach to evaluate perceptions, acceptance and barriers at different scales of governance and population (3) different land/cityscapes • Developing a mixed-methods methodology Phase 1: Scoping exercise • Garden fence surveys • Expert Interviews • Quantitative evaluation
  • 12. 17 Photo by Yuri Shirota on Unsplash Quantitative Analysis Aim: to understand the state of residential solar implementation in Luxembourg and by corollary Differdange? • What is the spatial distribution of residential solar PV in Luxembourg? • Evaluate state of Solar Energy using Deep Learning processes to classify orthoimages (Data from 2022 -> resolution of 0.1m) • Analysis conducted for all of Luxembourg • Literature: • CNN to identify solar PV has been tried and tested with both high and low-resolution imagery (Kwan, 2012.; Yu et al., 2018) • Different image sources such as satellite or aerial (Mao et al., 2023). • recent studies have used orthophotographic imagery with resolutions between 0.3 and 0.05m for higher precision (de Hoog et al., 2020; Mayer et al., 2020; Sommer et al., 2018; Yuan et al., 2016) Alex Skinner Master thesis
  • 13. 18 Method: Investigating dynamics of the solar energy transition Alex Skinner Master thesis In 2022, in Differdange, less than 12 in every 1000 residential buildings are estimated to have implemented Solar PV ( currently 75% accuracy of model)
  • 14. 19 Spatial clustering of PV Implementations Alex Skinner Master thesis
  • 15. 20 A garden fence survey With ProSud Citizens Festival Differdange Summer 2023 • Mixed-method Garden Fence Survey in form of postcard booklet • Multilingual • French, English, Portuguese • Playful closed survey questions • 9 hypothesis: • general attitude, proximity, visibility, home ownership, community initiatives, financial commitments, investment value, place attachment and familiarity with technology (questions inspired by Schumacher, 2019) • Options based on : • Active acceptance, passive acceptance, indifference, passive resistance, active rejection (Schweizer-Ries, P., 2008 ; Schumacher, 2019 ; Rau et al, 2012 ; Hai, 2019) • + mix of open-ended sentence completion questions . Aim: To gain a better understanding of local citizen perceptions of the preferences, acceptance and barriers to implementation of the solar transition
  • 16. 22 Garden Fence Interviews - sample Gender identity Age-Groups Sample info Purpose: pilot the tools and get a sense of opinions Method: convenience sampling Differdange population: approx. 29,000 Representativeness: for 95% confidence level with a population of 29,000 and a margin of error of 10% the ideal sample size is 96 Limitations • Sampling bias: women filled it out for couples • Selection bias: those attending the cultural festival; those interested in the topic • Generalisation of data beyond Differdange (population variation) Returns: 124 responses
  • 18. 24 Passive acceptance of the Solar Energy Transition Passive acceptance for energy projects implemented at the neighbourhood scale General desire for more information Early findings from survey Rejection of need for personal finance Curiosity for Community Energy solutions Strong Acceptance for installation on public buildings (=roofs)
  • 19. 25 Expert Interviews Planners, Architects, local stakeholders Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash Aim : To gain a better understanding of local stakeholder perceptions of the renewable energy transition investigating barriers to implementation and social acceptance of the solar transition • Status: Ongoing • 1 group interview conducted using 3 languages simultaneously (French, Luxembourgish and English) • Urban administrators and policy makers • rban administrators/policy-makers • Purpose: to explore the current state of the energy transition, understand existing priorities and the evaluate the role of solar in the transition • Topics: • The local energy transition • Solar and its role in the local energy transition • Exploring the future • Oportunities for knowledge exchange/ networking .
  • 20. 26 Citizens have passive acceptance of the solar energy transition, but implementation is constrained by complexity of socio-economic and political factors -> (housing ownership structures, urban form, demographics, policy priorities, financial impediments), Community Energy requirement -> individuals cannot pay Questions of scale (project, location) Pilot study – interview findings so far….. Helps us to gain a better cultural–cognitive understanding of how things are done
  • 21. 28 Next Steps for this work package Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash Phase 2 (for workpackage on social attitudes) • Continue interviews with range of Local/ National stakeholders and citizens • Develop collaborative workshops to explore priorities • Design, implement and analyse survey on energy cultures and worldviews to understand relationship to social acceptance / barriers to implementation Spatial Analysis • Rerun models with improved accuracy • Spatial Regression models to evaluate relationship between solar implementatons and urban form • Temporal analysis (2017-2023) to explore diffusion of soci-technical system ........ PHASE 2
  • 22. 29 Pilot Study - Modelling AgriPV potential and landscape conflicts
  • 23. 30 Background photo by : Tobi Kellner - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=126294377 Multicriteria Suitability analysis Aim: Evaluate potential conflict between potential AGRI PV sites & possible tourism conflicts -> towards landscape preservations (Proof of concept) • Conduct suitability analysis to identify land suitability for AGRIPV • Intregrate constraints associated with: • Natural Environment, Physical Environment, Built Environment • Rank Suitablility into 4 classes (highly suitable to least suitable) • (limitations: no soil types) . CHAWIN VISAVAKORNVISIT Master Thesis
  • 24. 31 Evaluate potential AGRIV conflict with tourism routes and sites • Modelling Lines of sight analysis for tourist routes • Vehicle tours, Biking Tours and Hiking tours • Lines of sight analysis for specific points of interest • Castles: hill and valley types Suitability of AGRIPV and potential conflict with tourist routes Land visibility from tourist routes Land visibility from castle locations
  • 25. 32 Conclusion On the pathway towards improving understanding Social and neighbourhood barriers / acceptance Place attachment as a factor of perceptions/ acceptance of the energy transition Multi-scalar social/spatial analysis Visual / aesthetic impacts & land/city scape preservation/conflicts Local impacts: vulnerability & equity Evaluation of policy & governance perspectives Community / neighborhood energy a pathway for the transition Planning Games
  • 26. 33 Thank you & questions
  • 27. 34 The hypothesis on which we built the questionnaire Social acceptance of renewable energy is more nuanced at the local level than national surveys indicate Whilst the public is considered to be generally accepting of RES, solar energy installations have greater general acceptance nationally than if local projects are proposed in residential neighbourhoods? People are accepting of solar energy but distance to the installation/project impacts the likelihood of acceptance. Solar plants have greater acceptance when they are further from the residential neighbourhoods? People are accepting of solar energy but the scale of the plant impacts their likelihood of acceptance. In residential neighbourhoods, solar plants have greater acceptance when they are of a smaller scale (local neighbourhood scale) People are accepting of solar energy but the visibility of the plant impacts their likelihood of acceptance. People don’t want to be able to see the solar energy installation. In residential neighbourhoods solar plants have greater acceptance when they are not visible from the windows of their homes. People are accepting of solar energy but their sense of place attachment impacts their likelihood of their acceptance. People with stronger attachments to place/neighbourhoods will have lowers levels acceptance of acceptnce if they feel it will impact the neighbourhood. People are accepting of solar energy but they don’t perceive the return of investment as an added value so they are reluctant to invest Those that don’t perceive the investment of solar energy as an added value to their home are reluctant to make the transition. People are accepting of solar energy but it is difficult to access loans People are generally accepting of the solar energy but those with lower income are less likely to be able to afford loans for their installation People are accepting of solar energy but the complexity of the land/housing ownership and housing situation impacts their ability to act. Some people are accepting of solar energy but are generally late adopters of technology and are reluctant to embrace the transition as they think its complicated?

Editor's Notes

  1. Write the script for this... 
  2. Looking towards 
  3. This could be anywhere in Europe, it is a modest middle-income neighbourhood with rows of terrace houses. In this example one property owner has covered all the possible roof space with Photovoltaics but actually even with the best will in the wolrd with the entire roof space covered in PV,  it does not produce enough solar energy to meet the energy needs of that of an average European citizen. To meet this need we would need double the surface of the roof with PV cells. 
  4. To meet this need we would need double the surface of the roof with PV cells. 
  5. Now imagine doing this for every house in the street.    Energy production landscapes have traditionally been hidden out of site. With the solar energy transition, this is set to change and if we are not careful this is what our land and city scapes could end up looking like. 
  6.   If  PV installations on roofs are unable to fulfil our energy needs we need to think both logically and creatively on how to design and where to develop new sites of energy production.  Where and in what form should our new energy landscapes take and can we explore what impact and indeed consequences will they have on our and/city scapes.    Can you imagine developing de-centralised solar energy production by overbuilding railways, or creating solar installations alongside the Motorways and roads Developing Solar agriculture  and solar fields  Or by making more use of our built environment.  Making use of facades and / or even street art installations.    All of these option will impact our everyday lived visual experience -> shaping and reshaping our sense of place and how we build connections to place as well as impacting our quality of life.   
  7. Hypthetically we are considering the impact of the decentralised solar system. if the solar energy transition were to be a primary solution we are interested in investigathing the potential visual and social impact of this transition..Therefore we propose the concept of Camouflaged PV.    In our project we will reimagine PV  using innovative inkject printing techniques , we will attempt to develop camouflage PV and evaluate their performance . These results will be fed into the local land and cityscape models to assess what different solar configurations could be possible within a neighbourhood. These configurations would then be discussed and evaluated with the activities of the project lab to identify social preferences.  
  8. In the physics lab laboratory Phil and Clara are working on colour patterned solar cells and will measure their optical properties and yields. These properties and yields will be translated into a digital twin of our case study areas. We will then take one step further and to transform our digital twin into hybrid reality via the medium of an AR app . These digital models will be used to be used to identify preferences of the solar energy transition from the viewpoint of citizens and stakeholders. 
  9. In order to provide useful feedback for Phil and Clara we need to understand that the solar energy transition is not just an assemblage of scientific innovation and infrastructure? It needs to be envisioned as a socio-technical system that impacts people and places through time.  The system also requires social awareness, capacity building, participation and engagement from citizens and stakeholders.  And so we are trying to build a supportive network  of stakeholder and citizens that supports a deeper understanding of the transition
  10. Thus, The different components of our project fit within a cycle of iterative feedback starting with scientific innovation in the field of structural and colour properties of PV, these results will be fed into our novel digital twin of urban and rural landscapes to represent different decentralised solar energy production scenarios.  our focus on plyful participation will make use of our pioneering App to represent the scenarios in a hybrid reality – actually in the field of every day life,  building dialogues with citizens and stakeholders (where geographers, love to be!)  to rank preferences and evaluate acceptance , explore energy cultures from which the the results are feed back to the physics lab. 
  11. And so to begin this journey we are setting out to build a deeper understanding of the general perceptions of the solar energy transition, to understand the state of social acceptance, and barriers to implementation  of our case study areas. 
  12. For this end we are setting out to explore the renewable energy transtion at the local scale to gain understanding of prioirties related to perceptions, acceptance and barriers 
  13. Our first step is a mix methods approach that starts with a scoping exercise and is devided into phases . Combining a short playful citizen survey, expert interviews and a qualntitative evalution 
  14. we also see that from spatial clustering that there are concentrations of neighbourhoods with low implementation rates surrounded by other neighbourhoods with low implementation rates, whilst in the east we see the reeverse...  So we need to try and make sense of this pattern …...
  15. The first step is to speak to citizens. So working with ProSud this summer we devised a small playful questionnaire based on a number of our hypothesis linked to acceptance and implementation that were formed around responses the aline with notions of active acceptance, passive acceptance, indifference, passive resistance or active resistance .  Rau, I., Schweizer-Ries, P., Hildebrand, J., 2012. Participation: The Silver Bullet for the Acceptance of Renewable Energies?, in: Sigrun Kabisch, Anna Kunath, Petra Schweizer-Ries, Annett Steinführer (Eds.), Vulnerability, Risks, and Complexity. Impacts of Global Change. Hogrefe. Vol 3 Hai, 2019 talks about customer segmentation and states of willingness – interesting !
  16. The questionnaire was designed around the concept of a postcard game (this needs improvement) We had quite a good response rate, given that we were at a local citizen festival with more than 120 people stopping to work with us. 
  17. The first thing we asked people is what is solar energy. The responses are quite telling. A number of them finsihsed the sentence with expressions of the percieved beenfits solar energy offers (clean, gree, free)  other responses connected to aspects of temporality – its is the future ( but why not the now) whilst other responses mentioned their understanding of its limitations ( the weather, its 
  18. But what we can say it there was a general overal passive acceptance of the solar transition and some  curiosity for community energy solutions. 
  19. We are in the process of complementing the results of this survey with expert interviews 
  20. Cultural–cognitive understanding of how things are done
  21. Another project that is more proof of concept that might spark your curiosity was a project that I worked on with another master student 
  22. A suitability model is used to identify the best location to site things or areas to preserve.  Through transforming and weighting the criteria, a suitability map is created. The suitability map identifies the relative preference of each location based on the features at the location.
  23. Neighbourhood Acceptance / barriers  Social/economic impact from perspective of community energy vulnerability and energy equity  Exploring the role of world views on social acceptance of PV transition.  Evaluating the relationship  of place attachment and perceptions of evolving land/city scapes that are impacted by the energy transition  Energy planning policy and governance