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Development and validation of a multicriteria indicator for the assessment of objective aesthetic impact of wind farms


  • Torres Sibille, Ana del Carmen
  • Cloquell-Ballester, Víctor-Andrés
  • Cloquell-Ballester, Vicente-Agustín
  • Darton, Richard


Wind energy represents one of the most important renewable resources. However, despite the fact that wind farms are represented as environmentally friendly projects, they frequently encounter public resistance. One of the main criticisms of wind farm construction projects is directed at their poor aesthetic integration into the landscape. This work develops an indicator to assess the magnitude of the objective aesthetic impact on the landscape caused by the installation of the wind farm. The indicator combines measures of visibility, colour, fractality and continuity which can be taken from photographs. Value functions are constructed for each variable and incorporated into the indicator. This indicator has been used to calculate the objective aesthetic impact of five wind farms. Comparison of the indicator results with a population survey shows that the indicator correctly represents the order of impact as perceived by the population sample, and is thus an appropriate objective measure of aesthetic impact of wind farms.

Suggested Citation

  • Torres Sibille, Ana del Carmen & Cloquell-Ballester, Víctor-Andrés & Cloquell-Ballester, Vicente-Agustín & Darton, Richard, 2009. "Development and validation of a multicriteria indicator for the assessment of objective aesthetic impact of wind farms," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 40-66, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:13:y:2009:i:1:p:40-66

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Manchado, Cristina & Otero, César & Gómez-Jáuregui, Valentín & Arias, Rubén & Bruschi, Viola & Cendrero, Antonio, 2013. "Visibility analysis and visibility software for the optimisation of wind farm design," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 388-401.
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    7. Sunak, Yasin & Madlener, Reinhard, 2016. "The impact of wind farm visibility on property values: A spatial difference-in-differences analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 79-91.
    8. Elena Arce, María & Saavedra, Ángeles & Míguez, José L. & Granada, Enrique, 2015. "The use of grey-based methods in multi-criteria decision analysis for the evaluation of sustainable energy systems: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 924-932.
    9. Wróżyński, Rafał & Sojka, Mariusz & Pyszny, Krzysztof, 2016. "The application of GIS and 3D graphic software to visual impact assessment of wind turbines," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 96(PA), pages 625-635.
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    12. Maslov, Nicolas & Claramunt, Christophe & Wang, Tianzhen & Tang, Tianhao, 2017. "Method to estimate the visual impact of an offshore wind farm," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 204(C), pages 1422-1430.
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    14. Picchi, Paolo & van Lierop, Martina & Geneletti, Davide & Stremke, Sven, 2019. "Advancing the relationship between renewable energy and ecosystem services for landscape planning and design: A literature review," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 241-259.
    15. Bao, Qifang & Honda, Tomonori & El Ferik, Sami & Shaukat, Mian Mobeen & Yang, Maria C., 2017. "Understanding the role of visual appeal in consumer preference for residential solar panels," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1569-1579.
    16. Tabassum-Abbasi, & Premalatha, M. & Abbasi, Tasneem & Abbasi, S.A., 2014. "Wind energy: Increasing deployment, rising environmental concerns," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 270-288.
    17. Kontogianni, A. & Tourkolias, Ch. & Skourtos, M. & Damigos, D., 2014. "Planning globally, protesting locally: Patterns in community perceptions towards the installation of wind farms," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 170-177.
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    19. Manchado, Cristina & Gomez-Jauregui, Valentin & Lizcano, Piedad E. & Iglesias, Andres & Galvez, Akemi & Otero, Cesar, 2019. "Wind farm repowering guided by visual impact criteria," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 197-207.
    20. Molina-Ruiz, José & Martínez-Sánchez, María José & Pérez-Sirvent, Carmen & Tudela-Serrano, Mari Luz & García Lorenzo, Mari Luz, 2011. "Developing and applying a GIS-assisted approach to evaluate visual impact in wind farms," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 1125-1132.
    21. Molnarova, Kristina & Sklenicka, Petr & Stiborek, Jiri & Svobodova, Kamila & Salek, Miroslav & Brabec, Elizabeth, 2012. "Visual preferences for wind turbines: Location, numbers and respondent characteristics," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 269-278.
    22. Baltas, A.E. & Dervos, A.N., 2012. "Special framework for the spatial planning & the sustainable development of renewable energy sources," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 358-363.
    23. de la Hoz, Jordi & Martín, Helena & Martins, Blanca & Matas, José & Miret, Jaume, 2013. "Evaluating the impact of the administrative procedure and the landscape policy on grid connected PV systems (GCPVS) on-floor in Spain in the period 2004–2008: To which extent a limiting factor?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 147-167.
    24. Chiabrando, Roberto & Fabrizio, Enrico & Garnero, Gabriele, 2011. "On the applicability of the visual impact assessment OAISPP tool to photovoltaic plants," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 845-850, January.


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