Peer-reviewed paper published: Evolution of energy landscapes

Posted by on September 18, 2020 in Homepage, Project, Publications, Research

In June 2020, the article Evolution of energy landscapes: a regional case study in the Western Netherlands, written by Sven Stremke and Jolanda de Jong was published by the international open access journal Sustainability. The research was supported by the Dutch national cultural heritage service (Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed, RCE). The paper illustrates and discusses the spatial impact of past and ongoing energy transitions in the Netherlands. The research helps the understanding and contextualization of present-day complex spatial issues with respect to sustainable energy transition, in the historical context.

Abstract: While the transition to renewable energy becomes a main driver of landscape change, few publications discuss the historical transformation of landscapes for the development of energy—commonly referred to as energy landscape. The research reported in this paper investigates the evolution of energy landscapes in the Western Netherlands—a region shaped by peat extraction and dotted with windmills. Five periods have been identified, dominated by wood, peat, wind, fossil fuels, and modern renewables, respectively. During each period, the landscape coevolved with the new energy source hosting new energy infrastructure. The sequence of landscape transformations over the past 10 centuries in the Western Netherlands is illustrated by means of historical paintings, photographs and a series of five georeferenced maps. Our systematic analysis confirms the long-lasting and manifold interrelations between energy development and landscape transformation at the brink of another energy transition. This paper presents the first all-encompassing application of the analytical framework for the study of energy landscapes proposed earlier. The three main qualifications—substantive, spatial, and temporal—provided a clear framework for the systematic study of landscape transformations at the regional scale.

Reference: de Jong, Jolanda; Stremke, Sven (2020) Evolution of Energy Landscapes: A Regional Case Study in the Western Netherlands. Sustainability 12(11), DOI: 10.3390/su12114554.

You can access the paper here (open access).

Figure: Preview of the maps of the different energy periods distinguished in the article