Spatial data becomes the accelerator of the energy transition

Exise Digital Area Acquisition

A challenge for the energy transition

Even in 2022, long, complex approval processes are still one of the biggest hurdles in the rapid expansion of renewable energies. The lack of a digital representation of relevant approval processes makes it almost impossible for stakeholders to meet the expansion targets in the required time.

The project

Let's make renewable energy planning fast and easy

What if we could estimate the success of an approval process even before the application has been reviewed by the responsible authority? I found answers to this question in my bachelor thesis at the Münster School of Design. With Exise, I developed a product vision that utilizes known area information to replace complex, analog processes and thus contribute to accelerating the energy transition.

The result of my work is the digital planning and acquisition tool Exise, which enables project developers to easily and efficiently identify areas that meet the complex requirements for the construction of new wind power and photovoltaic plants.

My Role

User Research
Product Strategy


How do we want to plan renewable energies in the future?

To provide a strategic foundation for decision-making, I began the project with hypothesis-driven stakeholder interviews. In interviews of six relevant users from renewable energy project developers, environmentalists, and political stakeholders, I gained an understanding of their individual roles within the permitting process. I summarized their individual problems and expectations in the following findings.


The knowledge about application requirements strongly depends on the experience of the project developer.

Information access

Gathering application-relevant information from public interest groups is resource-intensive.

Area assessment

Project developers want to understand the local conditions in order to be able to evaluate an area as suitable.


Intransparent and complex communication structures make direct consultation with involved stakeholders cumbersome


Empowering project developers to lay the foundations for faster processes

With the evaluation of the interview results and a holistic view of the customer journey, project developers of renewable energies could be identified as the core target group of the digital platform. As a key player, they take over central tasks of the entire process. They have extensive knowledge, generate relevant information and initiate new projects, from which third parties (approval authorities, investors, etc.) benefit. My hypothesis was to enable project developers to plan new areas in a more targeted way in order to reduce the time and effort required by the authorities to process facilities that cannot be approved.


Three central value propositions address the needs of project developers


Make you the most informed person in the room


Reduce the risk of your decisions


Bring you closer together with all the stakeholders


To have data, means to avoid uncertainty

In order for project developers to evaluate the success potential of their site and its surroundings, they need easier access to publicly available information. Only in this way can they identify at an early stage whether a planned facility would have a negative impact on its surroundings according to applicable laws. Although such information is publicly available, it is often difficult for project developers to gain an overview of the available information and data. A comprehensive assessment often requires the evaluation of dozens of documents from as many sources.

User scenarios

Define solutions to real challenges

With the daily tasks and goals of the project developers in mind, I designed a prototype that would focus on the most relevant user scenarios.

Scenario 01

I would like to have a look at known areas of potential in my region

Scenario 02

I would like to know if and which obstacles prevent a permission in a certain area

Scenario 03

I would like to collect the documents required by the authority in charge for an application in my area


Translation of learned patterns into the digital space

The main goal was to build the platform from the ground up in such a way that it functions coherently with today’s analog processes. Guided by feedback from users, an easy-to-follow two-step process was developed in a participatory design process. In order to leverage the added value of a digital solution, the complex process of acquiring land and creating applications was combined. Users can first select a potential site, from which the resulting information is automatically transferred to the approval application. From a holistic point of view, the resulting user experience enables a streamlining of the current working processes.

Final user flows: Land acquisition and application creation are combined in a two-step process


Make decisions for a user-friendly interface

Through early research, I found out which digital tools project developers use in their daily work and therefore know almost by heart. Due to extensive, unseen functions, it was helpful to structure and design the platform according to patterns that project developers already knew and had learned. In close consultation with the user group, the following design challenges were constantly revised to create the best possible user experience.

Interim status of the design development: search results are displayed as a list

Final view: search results are displayed parallel to the map

How might we...

Locate decision-relevant information

Almost all information that project developers work with can be assigned to an area geographically localized. More importantly, project developers are looking for information based on their geographic location. Therefore, I developed a side-by-side view that allows project developers to view relevant information parallel to the site from which it originates.

How might we...

help users to make informed

The research resulted in a cluster of essential information (such as surrounding buildings, underlying land utilization plans, nearby species and nature conservation regulations, etc.), which project developers use for the evaluation of the area. However, since the same information is not available for all sites, a modular system was developed that allows the information output to be adapted to the situation.

How might we...

establish collaborative ways of working?

In the follow-up phase of the application creation, the user journey revealed a starting point for further user groups. The goal was therefore to design the platform collaboratively from the ground up in order to enable efficient ways of working within the processing teams and a fully digital approval process in general. Accordingly, the user interface should make it quickly recognizable when team members are collaborating on projects.


Create products that matter

In less than 4 months I finished Exise as the result of my bachelor thesis. After a final validation phase with test runs of the selected prototype, I could be sure of the enthusiasm of the project developers. Their positive feedback is the proof that Exise is able to provide real added value in stuck and analog processes. Even more, they see Exise’s vision as a tangible key ingredient to drive the expansion of renewable energies.

I am proud that my work has been selected by an independent jury of the Münster School of Design as the best bachelor thesis of the graduating class in the winter semester 2022/23.