Electricity storage and conservation

Project title: Impact of storage technologies/demands and hydrogen process chains/demands on nature conservation issues


  • Assessment of the impact on nature and landscape caused by the expansion of storage technologies including hydrogen production
  • Approaches to a potential sustainability certification of hydrogen
  • Recommendations for action based on the results


ifeu Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung gGmbH
Wilckensstr. 3, D-69120 Heidelberg
Horst Fehrenbach
Tel.: +49 6221 476716


FKZ 3523 86 0100
Departmental Research Plan 2023
Term: 01.02.2024 - 31.08.2025

The research project investigates the effects of the increased use of electricity storage technologies such as large batteries and hydrogen applications in the course of the expansion of electricity generation from renewable energies on nature conservation concerns.

The expansion of renewable electricity is the indispensable basis for achieving climate protection targets and the transformation towards climate neutrality. However, full coverage with renewable electricity also requires the expansion of storage systems for electricity in order to fulfil various system services due to its fluctuating generation. There are a number of storage technologies with specific characteristics for this purpose. Battery storage and hydrogen with reconversion to electricity are such options.

Both the expansion of renewable electricity and storage technologies can help to conserve the scarce resource of land due to the more efficient utilisation of renewable energy systems, but will not remain without impact on nature and the landscape. Land consumption, sealing, fragmentation, interventions in the landscape, etc. are largely obvious, have been described many times and have also been analysed and evaluated in the countless individual cases of implementation (nature conservation assessments as part of approval procedures). What has been lacking to date is an assessment of the effects on nature and landscape of new storage technologies and of expansion in its entirety. The aim and task of this project is to recognise gaps in knowledge and close them as far as possible.


The project is divided into six work packages. These initially include a review of the current state of the art and the research and development of storage technologies. Here, among other things, profiles of storage technologies are drawn up, the relevance of which results from the literature meta-analysis.
In a meta-analysis of future requirements for renewable electricity storage technologies, scenarios are developed on the basis of existing studies. This analysis is supplemented by interviews with experts and information from the project-accompanying working group (PAG).

Finally, the political strategies, the regulatory basis and funding measures for the expansion of storage technologies are also analysed. To this end, it systematically analyses which technologies are promoted by which strategy or regulation and to what extent. Interviews will be conducted with suitable contact persons from the field to analyse the difficulties and obstacles to implementation.

The assessment of the impact on nature and the landscape is aimed on the one hand at the various storage technologies in detail (construction-, plant- and operation-related risks) and on the other hand at the entirety on the basis of scenarios for possible future expansion paths. The scenarios also include the expansion of hydrogen production and the associated renewable electricity. The evaluation criteria for assessing conflicts of interest with nature conservation are derived and applied from nature conservation assessment methods (e.g. based on existing procedures such as FFH impact assessment, species conservation assessment and impact regulation) as well as system-related assessment instruments (biodiversity in life cycle assessments). As a result, the cornerstones of an environmentally compatible expansion are developed.

The issue of import requirements plays a key role in the field of hydrogen. A literature analysis is used to estimate the extent of the imports under discussion and to develop ecological sustainability criteria for hydrogen imports and their implementation.

The results of the work described will be summarised in a paper with political recommendations for action, which will also contain recommendations on research priorities and future procedures.

Work packages

  1. Description of the current status as well as research and development of storage technologies including profiles of relevant and most promising storage technologies
  2. Identification of relevant storage technologies and quantification of demand through meta-analysis of existing scenarios
  3. Description of the political goals and strategies, funding programmes and regulations geared towards electricity storage
  4. Assessment of the impact on nature and the landscape caused by the future expansion of storage technologies and the ramp-up of hydrogen production with the associated renewable electricity production based on scenarios and assessment criteria.
  5. Sustainable potential of hydrogen - how can this be proven or certified?
  6. Political recommendations for action based on the results

Project partners

Project partners

Project management

ifeu Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung gGmbH

Wilckensstr. 3 – D-69120 Heidelberg
Horst Fehrenbach
Tel.: +49 6221 476716


LBST – Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH     
Daimlerstr. 15 – D-85521 Ottobrunn
Patrick Schmidt
Tel.: +49 89 60 81 10-36

Funding authority

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)
Division II 4.3 Nature Conservation and Renewable Energies
Alte Messe 6
D-04013 Leipzig
Georgia Erdmann

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