Articles Meet the partners

Meet the Partners: NINA – Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

Through research and spatial analysis, NINA aims to establish the groundwork for a future where wind energy development is integrated with environmental conservation efforts.

The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) is an independent research foundation with headquarters in Trondheim and departments in Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø, and Lillehammer. More than 350 employees work on nature-based solutions for a more sustainable future. The institute conducts research on nature and nature-society interactions and has a wide range of expertise within ecology, geography, and social sciences. In the WENDY project, the NINA team contributes with its interdisciplinary knowledge to model impacts from wind energy on biodiversity and environmental values.

“The WENDY project takes a holistic approach to wind energy, making it exciting to be part of this inter- and transdisciplinary consortium. Considering the large areas required for wind farms, we consider it vital that research develops methods that can be used in an early phase to evaluate impacts and inform decision makers,” says Roel May, senior research scientist at NINA.

The Team for Sustainable Wind Energy

In the WENDY project, a group of four individuals are involved. Roel May is a senior research scientist at NINA and work package leader in the WENDY project. He is actively involved in modelling of wind energy impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Additionally, Roel coordinates the work to assess the impact of the WENDY method on energy stewardship.

Another Researcher, Thomas Kvalnes, maps marine and terrestrial biodiversity, based on species occurrence data. Based on these maps he develops models to calculate the impact of offshore and onshore wind energy on biodiversity. Complementing their efforts is Frank Hanssen, a Senior Engineer responsible for the development of the spatial multi-criteria WENDY toolbox for consensus-based siting of wind energy infrastructure. Lastly, we meet Reto Spielhofer, the researcher developing a participatory tool to map ecosystem services, known as the utilitarian values of landscapes. The ecosystem service maps are then used to calculate the impact of wind energy on peoples’ perceived landscape values.

NINA to use WENDY Methods in Future Research

The NINA team working in the WENDY project is trained to think and work spatially. Thus, their methods result in maps and spatially explicit models, which foster the development of solutions for evaluating the impacts of wind farms during the planning phase. Spatially explicit assessments, processes, and solutions are key to foster energy stewardship and ultimately enhance acceptance for wind energy.

“The WENDY project furthers our portfolio on the interface of renewable energy with nature conservation internationally. Applying holistic and interdisciplinary approaches to tackle real-life challenges is also at the core of our applied profile,” says Roel May.

The methods, developed in the WENDY project and the gained knowledge will be used in other NINA relevant research projects and is aimed for use by decision makers. The mapping of biodiversity and ecosystem services will also be transferable to other important topics.