The BfN key topic

Nature conservation and renewable energies

Expanding renewable energies in harmony with the interests of nature conservation is the focus of a number of research projects currently supported by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).

The energy transition requires a far-reaching restructuring of the energy system. Dispensing with large central power plants necessitates the widespread expansion of energy generation across the country, something which does not happen without consequences for landscapes and habitats. More powerful transmission lines as well as wind turbines, photovoltaic systems and other technologies for utilising renewable energies require space and constitute an encroachment in established habitats and landscapes. The specific effects of these systems on individual species are an additional factor. The main species affected are certain birds such as the red kite, sea eagle and black stork, but also various species of bats, marine mammals and fish.

The key aims under the topic "Nature Conservation and Renewable Energies" are to investigate the effects of renewable energy generation in detail, to describe the relevant mechanisms of action and to derive knowledge for planning practices at all planning levels. The BfN's research therefore takes up the challenges of reconciling the interests of nature conservation and climate protection, thus contributing to the long-term success of the energy transition.

The research field covers technologies to generate renewable energies – onshore and offshore wind power, hydropower, biomass and solar energy – and all natural resources as defined by the German Nature Conservation Act (Bundesnaturschutzgesetz). The research projects are accompanied by a networking project which aims to recognise synergies, identify general topic areas and research needs, and put results into practice.
The project is supported by funds from the German Environmental Research Plan (since 2016, "Departmental Research Plan"). Further information is available on the website of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).