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Dr Rebecca Windemer

Dr Rebecca Windemer

Postdoctoral Fellow

School of Geography and Planning

Overview

I am an environmental planner with an interest in the regulation of time and renewable energy infrastructure.

My recent work has focused on the use of time-limited planning consents for the regulation of onshore wind and solar farms and how decisions are made regarding the future of this infrastructure  (repowering, life-extension and decomissioning).

My current research seeks to explore the potential challenge of the abadonment of wind energy infrastructure.

I am the Secretary of the Royal Geographic Society Planning and Environment Research Group

Biography

Qualifications

PhD City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University. (Viva passed 31.01.2020).

MSc Development Planning and Research (part-time), University of Reading. Distinction.  2016)

BA Geography, London School of Economics (LSE). 2.1 (2014)

Professional Experience 

I have experience working as a town planning consultant and a planning policy analyst.

Honours and awards

  • Royal Town Planning Institue Awards for Research Exellence, Commendation (2020)
  • Royal Geographic Society Planning and Environment Research Group, Dissertation Award, Second Prize. (2016)

  • Indigo Planning Prize. Awarded for the best performance by a part-time student (University of Reading, 2016).

  • Indigo Final Project Prize. Awarded for the best dissertation. (University of Reading, 2016).

Academic positions

2020- present: ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Geography and Planning Cardiff University

2016-2019:

Speaking engagements

Presentation of PhD research findings to UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, October 2019.

Windemer R, Managing (Im)Permanence: end-of-life challenges for the wind and solar energy sectors. RGS-IBG Annual Conference. London, August 2019.

Presentation of research findings to Irish Government Stakeholders and Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland, Dublin, May 2019.

Windemer R, ‘What happens to wind farms at the end of their consented life?’ EUGEO Congress, in conjunction with the Conference of Irish Geographers, Galway, May 2019.

Public Seminar (invited), ‘Managing (Im)Permanence: end-of-life challenges for onshore wind’, University of Exeter, January 2019.

Co-organiser and panel member, ‘Under what conditions can onshore wind be brought forward’ Parliamentary event for MP’s, Westminster, 22 January 2019.

Public Seminar (invited), ‘End-of-life challenges for renewable energy infrastructure, comparing Ireland with the UK’ National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, November 2018.

Windemer R, 'The temporal landscapes of onshore wind'. RGS-IBG Annual Conference. Cardiff University, August 2018.

Windemer, R 'Temporality, change and the challenge of achieving sustainable planning outcomes: Exploring end-of-life decision making for onshore wind'. AESOP Young Academics Conference. Groningen, March 2018.

Windemer, R 'Timescapes of solar and wind energy: Negotiating reversibility and change'. RGS-IBG Annual Conference. London, September 2017.

Committees and reviewing

Secretary of the Royal Geographic Society Planning and Environment Research Group

Reviewer: Applied Energy

Teaching

I have taught on the following modules:

Spatial Planning Methods (lecturer) 

Key Issues In Urban Planning (seminar leader)

Places and Plans (seminar assistant).

Researching Contemporary Issues in Hong Kong (guest lecturer and field study group leader/assistant)

Researching Contemporary Issues in Berlin’(field study group leader/assistant).

Researching Contemporary Issues in New York (field study group leader/assistant).

Environment and Society: Living with Environmental Change (asessment).

Current and recent projects:

Will infrastructure be abandoned? International challenges in planning for the future of onshore wind and solar. (2020 - 2021)

A central objective of this fellowship is to develop impact through academic, policy, and industry publications and through presenting at international industry and academic conferences. I will also be exploring the potential for wind farm infrastructure to be abandoned through investigating regulation in America.

Managing (Im) Permanence: end-of-life challenges for the wind and solar energy sectors (2016-2019)

In the context of a global transition to decarbonise the energy system, expanding energy output from renewables is increasingly important. However, space for renewable infrastructure is limited and existing facilities are beginning to reach the end of their operational or consent life. Given tightening planning and land restrictions, keeping consented infrastructure in place is likely to form a key part of ensuring that energy targets are met. My PhD investigated what has been happening to existing wind and solar farms in Great Britain and how decisions are made regarding:

  •  Life-extension (extending the planning consent of existing infrastructure).
  •  Repowering (replacing sites with new infrastructure, often of a different scale and output).
  • Decommissioning (removing infrastructure). 

The thesis produced a wealth of data including:

  •  An analysis of all relevant planning and energy policies.
  • Data on the age and status of all GB wind farms, incorporating details of repowering and life-extension.
  •  Case study research into four wind farms and one solar farm including in-depth interviews with all relevant actors (planners, developers, communities etc).
  •  Surveys of residents living closest to two wind farms.

 The findings reveal how different actors consider the duration of sites, how their perceptions may change over time and how this is reflected in decision making. A range of potential challenges are identified including the marginalisation of publics and landscape concerns and policy challenges such as the potential for infrastructure abandonment. Theoretically, the thesis provides new insights regarding the impacts of how the planning system considers and regulates time.