The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-5
06 Jun 2014
 | 06 Jun 2014

Impact Assessment of the Renewable Energies in the Cultural Heritage: the Case of the Way of St. James in Spain

P. Chias and T. Abad

Keywords: Impact Analysis, GIS, DEM/DTM, Renewable Energies, Landscape, Cultural Heritage, Spanish Way of St. James

Abstract. Medieval town centres and landscapes along the Way of St. James are being affected by renewable energy sources at the architectural, urban and territorial scales. The impact is not only visual, but thermal, accoustic and electromagnetic. Visual impact of solar photovoltaic power plants – which are placed over traditional crops close to the urban borders –, and also wind farms located at the hilltops, are sometimes remarkable. Solar photovoltaic modules are integrated into ancient roofs, and small scale wind turbines are taking up the ancient urban spaces. Among other effects on animal life and vegetation, the rise in temperature, radioelectric interferences, as well as changes in the traditional land uses are noticeable, and a deep analysis is needed. Our main target is to define an integrated methodology which considers all these effects. As a part of our project premises, we work with Open Source programs. We obtained a digital terrain model – 25 m spatial resolution –, and from Corine Land Cover images we got different raster files according to our research targets. Databases where implemented from both remote sensing and measures obtained directly in the field work. We applied GIS based multicriteria decision analysis and weighted linear combination, and then we adapted GRASS tools for a better usability. Our case studies are particularly interesting due to their situation along the Spanish Way of St. James, which is an itinerary named one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.