Norway’s untapped wind power potential: Mapping suitable areas based on a multi criteria evaluation
Tale Kjosnes Dissertation.pdf (6.197Mb)
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Wind is expected to represent one of Norway’s most important resources for renewable energy in the future, but Norway has yet to focus on the exploitation of wind rather than water. This research looks at Norway’s maximum untapped wind power potential, through mapping suitable areas for onshore wind power. The intention is to provide a realistic picture of which areas could be considered suitable for wind power by future developers. Suitable areas were mapped by conducting analysis using a Geographical Information System (GIS), in combination with a multi criteria evaluation (MCE). This included criteria representing physical, acceptance and economy considerations, which were allocated weightings and combined using the Weighted Overlay tool in ArcGIS. The determination of the appropriate weightings was validated by examining the amount of suitable land that overlays existing wind power. The chosen final weightings had the highest percentage overlay of some 34 %. The output was narrowed down to the most suitable sites for wind power by retrieving only areas with a suitability score of 1-3, on a scale from 1-9, and with an area bigger than 0.5 km2. These areas were estimated to have an untapped maximum wind power potential of approximately 600 TWh/year. This is enough to cover 100% of Norwegian power consumption from renewable sources and potentially reduce the EU’s CO2 emissions from power generation by 40 %. Nevertheless, realistically achieving this maximum potential will not be possible until Norway has improved the capacity of its national power grid.