Keywords: renewable energies, climate protection, nature conservation, renewable energy potential, Germany, renewables, constraints, conflict, wind turbines
Renewable energies: between climate protection and nature conservation?
The use of renewable energies is considered as a key strategy for achieving global CO2-reduction targets. In countries like Germany, where policy support programmes stimulated a dynamic growth of renewables, we had to observe also increasing public concern towards the impacts from RES technologies – in particular wind turbines – on ecosystems and the natural scenery, leading to the question on whether the contribution of renewables to climate protection is at the expense of nature conservation. Taking Germany as an example, we quantified limitations in the RES-potential from a broad range of nature conservation safeguard subjects. Results show that in Germany the target for expanding the share of renewables from currently 3% of primary energy consumption to 50% in 2050 can be realised without getting in conflict with nature conservation requirements. Potential areas of conflict between the use of renewables and nature conservation however exist, and constraints from a nature conservation perspective shall be carefully respected when designing RES-strategies.