Abstract

Resource depletion and climate change motivate a transition to sustainable energy systems that make effective use of renewable sources. Whereas nature presents strategies to sustain on the basis of renewables, the Laws of Thermodynamics can help to increase efficiency in energy use. In previous papers we have identified a number of ecological and thermodynamic concepts that are of special relevance to the transformation of today’s fossil fuel landscapes to sustainable energy landscapes. In spite of the many obvious benefits of renewable energy sources, the transition is constrained by periodic fluctuations in energy supply, low energy densities, and limited utilization of available energy. The central question of this paper is how ecological and thermodynamic concepts can help to overcome these constraints in the design, planning, and management of sustainable energy landscapes. Several examples from The Netherlands illustrate how descriptive scientific concepts can inform the design of sustainable energy landscapes and inspire the definition of generally applicable design strategies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1553-2704
Print ISSN
0277-2426
Pages
pp. 194-213
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-20
Open Access
No
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