Scenarios, GIS data and visualizations, landscape-aware public participation, RE planners, public agencies, NGOs,…

WG3 pictoWG 3 investigates socio-cultural aspects of sustainable renewable energy production and propose models and means of integrating specific aspects of renewable energy in participatory toolkits.

WG 3 began at the outset of the Action for approximately 1 year, collecting preparatory data and selecting case study regions. After year 1, with substantial inputs from WG 1 and WG 2, the intensive phase of WG 3 has started for years 2 and 3 of the Action's lifetime. The last year will be mainly dedicated to finalizing and disseminating the toolbox for participation. The overlap of the intensive phases of WG 1, WG 2 and WG 3 guarantees the desirable exchange of information but also allows each of the three Working Groups to tailor their work program to fit the demands of the other Working Groups.

  • Chair:         Matthias Buchecker, CH contact
  • Co-Chair:    Dina Stober, HR contact
  • Outcomes:  Toolbox for participation. Will be published on the Outcome later during the project's life time.
  • Members:   You can get more information about the members of WG 3 by clicking on the photo or the name.


This WP mainly aims at integrating specific aspects of renewable energies in participatory toolkits. As a basis of this work, a better understanding of the socio-cultural aspects of RE production has to be elaborated. In particular, context specific acceptance problems of  RE-projects in Europe will be identified, innovative practices of and tools for improving the local support of RE-projects will be revealed, and region-specific cultures and constraints of involving the public in planning will be disclosed. This will be mainly achieved by reviewing international and national literature, conducting best
practice inventories and involving national experts through group discussions and standardised surveys.
In the framework of a project financed by COST Switzerland, a participatory tool based on Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) will be elaborated to identify the best site for wind farms.

OutcomesWG 3 toolkit approach

The main product of this WP will be a toolkit for participatory planning of RE-projects defining a recommended context specific best practice procedure and suggesting problem-specific tools and measures.

Scheme for the toolbox, developed by WG 3 of COST RELY

First results

The literature review revealed five main types of acceptance problems arising in the context of renewable energy projects:
- Adverse effects on place image
- Loss of landscape authenticity
- Lack of local integration
- Poor social justice
- Impact on environmental quality
The findings of the inventory of innovative practices in Europe suggest that the existing practices of participatory planning in the field of renewable energy do not sufficiently address these acceptance problems, and that there is also a lack of tools stimulating the bottom-up elaboration of local energy visions.

WG 3 Case study locations

Location of Case Studies of WG 3 COST RELY TU1401



Richard Hewitt

Researcher and Consultant
Observatorio para una Cultura del Territorio / Observatory for a Culture of the Territory
Coordinator of European Projects, current coordination of WG3 COMPLEX
Socio-cultural Aspects of Sustainable RE Production (WG 3),Landscape Sensivity and Potentials in terms of RE production (WG 2),Synthesis of findings and dissemination (WG 4)
Land Use Change
Participatory Modelling
Global sustainability
Landscape Archaeology
Planning and Management
Renewable Energies Implementation
Landscape Assessments
Participatory GIS
Processes for decision making
Future Scenarios