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Spatial dimensions of sustainable energy systems: new visions for integrated spatial and energy planning

Gernot Stoeglehner1*, Nora Niemetz2 and Karl-Heinz Kettl2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Spatial, Landscape and Infrastructure Sciences, Institute of Spatial Planning and Rural Development, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Peter-Jordan-Straße 82, 1190, Vienna, Austria

2 Institute for Process- and Particle Engineering, Graz University of Technology, Inffeldgasse 21a, 8010 Graz, Austria

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Energy, Sustainability and Society 2011, 1:2  doi:10.1186/2192-0567-1-2

Published: 21 November 2011


The turn to sustainable energy system is a major societal goal at the global level. In this paper, we argue that this radical shift in energy provision towards increased energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources can only be achieved if its spatial dimensions are taken into consideration. Spatial structures have considerable influence on different aspects of the energy demand, and with spatial planning, the resource availability and use are influenced. Further, we propose that different spatial types need different strategies for the implementation of sustainable energy systems and that integrated spatial and energy planning is needed to support this change. Visions for four types of spatial structures: the city, the suburban area, the small town as well as the rural areas define their roles in the "space-resource-planning continuum", which are the foundation to shape an integrated spatial and energy planning system.

spatial planning; rural development; energy; renewable resources