Exploring the trilemma of cost-efficiency, landscape impact and regional equality in onshore wind expansion planning

Jann Michael Weinand*, Russell McKenna, Heidi Heinrichs, Michael Roth, Detlef Stolten, Wolf Fichtner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Onshore wind development has historically focused on cost-efficiency, which may lead to uneven turbine distributions and public resistance due to landscape impacts. Using a multi-criteria planning approach, we show how onshore wind capacity targets can be achieved by 2050 in a cost-efficient, visually unobtrusive and evenly distributed way. For the case study of Germany, we build on the existing turbine stock and use open data on technically feasible turbine locations and data on scenicness of landscapes to plan the optimal expansion. The analysis shows that while the trade-off between optimizing either cost-efficiency or landscape impact of the turbines is rather weak with about 15% higher costs or scenicness, an even distribution has a large impact on these criteria. However, a more evenly distributed expansion is necessary for the achievement of the targeted south quota, a policy target that calls for more wind turbine additions in southern Germany. Our analysis assists stakeholders in resolving the onshore wind expansion trilemma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100102
Number of pages17
JournalAdvances in Applied Energy
Early online date26 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Helmholtz Association under the program "Energy System Design".


  • German energy transition
  • Landscape scenicness
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Onshore wind siting
  • Social acceptance
  • Trade-off analysis


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