In WP3, stakeholder groups from two European regions, Spain and the Netherlands, were involved in the development of a land-use decision support model initially known as PLUS4-CMP, renamed APoLUS (Actor, Policy and Land Use Simulator) in June 2014. The purpose of APoLUS is to simulate future land use configurations under different renewable energy policy scenarios to help understand how EU Low Carbon Road Map objectives can realistically be acheived.     

The model links the spatially explicit geographical model of White and collaborators (e.g. White and Englelen 1997, White et al 2000), with policy implementation theory (e.g. De Boer and Bressers 2011) and sociological approaches (e.g. McIntyre 2008) aimed at widening participation in environmental decision-making.   

Parametrization and calibration of the model was carried out in close consultation with stakeholders in Overijssel, Netherlands and Navarre, Spain. The calibrated model can be used to explore the future spatial configuration of the territory under different implementation scenarios, e.g. flexible bottom-up approaches which allow local-based responses to climate change to emerge, or more tightly controlled centrally planned initiatives which may be vulnerable to global shocks. Each of these scenarios can be explored together with the stakeholder communities in order to identify possible solutions to the problems of renewable energy implementation previously identified earlier in the participatory process.

Initially, a pilot model was built using the commercial Geonamica software suite developed by the Research Institute for Knowledge Systems (RIKS), which allowed the main modelling challenges to be identified and some preliminary conclusions to be drawn about the possible spatial distribution of land use associated with renewable energy developments. The pilot model was then discussed with stakeholders as part of a "problem-framing" workshop held in Navarre, Spain. The results of this workshop can be found in de Boer et al 2014 (deliverable 3.4 - "Stakeholder input and feedback on model development of PLUS4-CMP")

For the main model, in accordance with the COMPLEX document of work (p.108), which states that: "[work packages] will look to incorporate open-source software in their modelling domains where possible", model development work was moved to the open source statistical and modelling environment R, with one processing-heavy routine programmed in C and called from the R program during runtime.  A similar modular structure to that employed by Geonamica was adopted for APoLUS, with the addition of a further "Actor Dynamics" model block (D) to the standard Neighbourhood (N), Accessibility (A), Suitability (S) and Zoning (Z) and stochastic parameter (v) model elements.     

The APoLUS model, calibrated for the study case of Navarre, together with a user guide, can be downloaded from here.

Richard Hewitt
Sepember 2015