SP8: Social, environmental and economic issues

Responding to Europe's energy production goals requires a quick increase in wind energy generation, creating additional challenges to its successful implementation. While much research on wind energy focuses on its technical development, environmental, economic and social aspects are equally crucial for a fast-paced deployment of this technology. 

SP8 promotes wind energy implementation where environment and people are at the centre of solving our climate and ecological challenges. We do this by providing timely, high-quality, rigorous research that supports our respective member states and across the European Union. In SP8 activities, we explore the major socio-economic and environmental hurdles for wind energy now and in the future while investigating how they can be mitigated. We also explore the enhance the potential benefits, like jobs, secure energy, as well as ecological functioning. This sub-programme helps to bridge the gap between technology development and its success in the market and local areas by establishing close and continuous cooperation with industry, communities and policymakers.

Our team of experts develops cutting-edge analytical approaches to characterise, assess and model social, economic and environmental factors affecting trends in wind energy. Our expertise includes environmental assessment (e.g. value chain tools like LCA, MFA, IOA; biology, ecology, ecotoxicology; monitoring technologies and eDNA), economic modelling, social and political science (governance, participatory approaches), and ethical assessment. SP8 researchers also apply well-established methods of engaging the public for social science-related energy research while actively looking for newer applications for wind energy (e.g., social innovation for societal engagement). SP8's main research areas include component and system costs of wind energy, economic incentives and support mechanisms, integration into energy systems, adapting power markets to wind energy, environmental impacts, nature-inclusive design, monitoring, public engagement strategies, just design & deployment of initiatives, co-existence and improvements to planning of offshore and onshore wind projects. Ultimately, our activity aims at building the necessary knowledge and tools required for a sustainable and just energy transition where wind energy will be a key element.




Vibeke Stærkebye Nørstebø SP8 Coordinator