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A GIS-based multi-criteria decision analysis of wind farm site suitability in New South Wales, Australia, from a sustainable development perspective

Bobeck, Michaela LU (2017) In Master Thesis in Geographical Information Science GISM01 20171
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
The interest for renewable energy within Australia is growing and the New South Wales (NSW) Government has committed to a Renewable Energy Target scheme of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. Wind energy is a mature renewable energy resource, which has been successfully deployed for electricity generation around the world. It is further believed to be a viable option to help expand the renewable energy market in NSW.

In this study, wind farm site suitability in NSW is evaluated from a sustainable development perspective, and by application of geographic information systems (GIS) and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). As such, this project aims to develop a decision support tool to assist in wind farm planning by incorporating... (More)
The interest for renewable energy within Australia is growing and the New South Wales (NSW) Government has committed to a Renewable Energy Target scheme of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. Wind energy is a mature renewable energy resource, which has been successfully deployed for electricity generation around the world. It is further believed to be a viable option to help expand the renewable energy market in NSW.

In this study, wind farm site suitability in NSW is evaluated from a sustainable development perspective, and by application of geographic information systems (GIS) and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). As such, this project aims to develop a decision support tool to assist in wind farm planning by incorporating economic, environmental and social aspects of wind farm siting.

The defined decision criteria include decision constraints and decision factors, of which the latter are standardised using primarily fuzzy logic. The MCDA implements a weighted linear combination method, with relative weights derived from pairwise comparisons based on the analytic hierarchy process. Furthermore, three policy scenarios are investigated: equal weights, environmental/social priority and economic priority. A suitability index (SI) is presented for each scenario, detailing the degree of suitability ranging between zero (0), not suitable location, and one (1), ideal location.

The final suitability index for each policy scenario indicates that the majority of the study area is considered ‘acceptable’ (0.50 < SI ≤ 1) for wind farm development, with a varying, but relatively widespread, degree of ‘high suitability’ (SI > 0.75). The local government areas of Conargo and Jerilderie are recognised as priority areas in all three scenarios and therefore deemed to be of particular interest for further evaluation. Furthermore, the majority of existing wind farms were identified within areas of ‘high suitability’, and in relatively close proximity to the most suitable locations identified in this study.

In conclusion, the results of the present study indicate great development potential for wind energy in NSW; and the here presented decision support tool could potentially assist wind farm developers and governments within a planning or decision making context in NSW. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Wind energy is a mature renewable energy resource, which is considered one of the most environmentally friendly and economically viable forms of renewable energy. The state of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia has excellent wind resources by international standards; however, just over one percent of the State’s electricity generation is produced by wind energy. Nevertheless, the interest for renewable energy is growing and the NSW government has committed to a Renewable Energy Target scheme of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020.

In order to sustainably expand the utilisation of wind energy, several decision criteria have to be considered such as for example wind resources, land use restrictions, and environmental protection zones.... (More)
Wind energy is a mature renewable energy resource, which is considered one of the most environmentally friendly and economically viable forms of renewable energy. The state of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia has excellent wind resources by international standards; however, just over one percent of the State’s electricity generation is produced by wind energy. Nevertheless, the interest for renewable energy is growing and the NSW government has committed to a Renewable Energy Target scheme of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020.

In order to sustainably expand the utilisation of wind energy, several decision criteria have to be considered such as for example wind resources, land use restrictions, and environmental protection zones. Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer based systems which are designed to store and process geographic information. They are also sometimes referred to as spatial decision support systems due to their ability to solve problems with multiple objectives or criteria.

This study introduces a GIS-based decision support tool to evaluate wind farm site suitability across on-shore areas of NSW, based on user inputs and publically available spatial data. Furthermore, site suitability is evaluated from a sustainable development perspective and as such, covers economic, environmental and social aspects of wind farm development.

In summary, the results of this study indicate great development potential for wind energy in NSW, with approximately 70 percent of the study area deemed ‘acceptable’ for wind farm development. The local government areas of Conargo and Jerilderie are recognised as priority areas and therefore deemed to be of particular interest for further evaluation. Furthermore, the majority of existing wind farms are identified within areas of ‘high suitability’, and in relatively close proximity to the most suitable locations identified in this study.

Finally, the results of the present study suggest that the developed decision support tool could potentially assist wind farm developers and governments within a planning or decision making context in NSW. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Bobeck, Michaela LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Wind farm site suitability in New South Wales, Australia
course
GISM01 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Geography, GIS, MCDA, wind farm, site suitability, Australia
publication/series
Master Thesis in Geographical Information Science
report number
67
language
English
id
8903253
date added to LUP
2017-02-15 11:12:27
date last changed
2017-02-15 11:12:27
@misc{8903253,
  abstract     = {The interest for renewable energy within Australia is growing and the New South Wales (NSW) Government has committed to a Renewable Energy Target scheme of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. Wind energy is a mature renewable energy resource, which has been successfully deployed for electricity generation around the world. It is further believed to be a viable option to help expand the renewable energy market in NSW. 

In this study, wind farm site suitability in NSW is evaluated from a sustainable development perspective, and by application of geographic information systems (GIS) and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). As such, this project aims to develop a decision support tool to assist in wind farm planning by incorporating economic, environmental and social aspects of wind farm siting. 

The defined decision criteria include decision constraints and decision factors, of which the latter are standardised using primarily fuzzy logic. The MCDA implements a weighted linear combination method, with relative weights derived from pairwise comparisons based on the analytic hierarchy process. Furthermore, three policy scenarios are investigated: equal weights, environmental/social priority and economic priority. A suitability index (SI) is presented for each scenario, detailing the degree of suitability ranging between zero (0), not suitable location, and one (1), ideal location. 

The final suitability index for each policy scenario indicates that the majority of the study area is considered ‘acceptable’ (0.50 < SI ≤ 1) for wind farm development, with a varying, but relatively widespread, degree of ‘high suitability’ (SI > 0.75). The local government areas of Conargo and Jerilderie are recognised as priority areas in all three scenarios and therefore deemed to be of particular interest for further evaluation. Furthermore, the majority of existing wind farms were identified within areas of ‘high suitability’, and in relatively close proximity to the most suitable locations identified in this study.

In conclusion, the results of the present study indicate great development potential for wind energy in NSW; and the here presented decision support tool could potentially assist wind farm developers and governments within a planning or decision making context in NSW.},
  author       = {Bobeck, Michaela},
  keyword      = {Geography,GIS,MCDA,wind farm,site suitability,Australia},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis in Geographical Information Science},
  title        = {A GIS-based multi-criteria decision analysis of wind farm site suitability in New South Wales, Australia, from a sustainable development perspective},
  year         = {2017},
}