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The energy system transformation in the tension between energy policy targets, societal acceptance and nature conservation demands

Project information
Project title
The energy system transformation in the tension between energy policy targets, societal acceptance and nature conservation demands (EWeNat)
Funding
Federal Agency for Nature Conservation
Project partner
Hochschule für Forstwirtschaft Rottenburg,
Fachgebiet Landschaftsmanagement und Regionalwirtschaft
Prof. Dr. Rainer Luick
Duration
12/2014 – 01/2016
Research associate
Dr. Bernd Demuth
Project Lead
Prof. Dr. Stefan Heiland

Description and Results

Nuclear phase-out and the combat of climate change are supported by the broad public in Germany. Conversely, the expansion of renewable energies is frequently met with considerable resistance in individual cases, especially when consequences of the energy system transformation become visible "on one's own doorstep" in the "familiar landscape”, since the resulting landscape image is not in line with desired images (e.g. a romantic cultural farming-landscape) and its character changes within a very short time. Furthermore, renewable energies can lead to an additional impairment of nature and landscape and present a threat to biological diversity. At the same time, there is little willingness of politicians and the public to discuss the necessity of reducing the high energy demand and consumption which is associated with energy-intensive lifestyles.

The society’s relationship to the energy system transformation is thus characterized by considerable contradictions that cannot be resolved easily. The reason is that the abandonment of fossil fuels and nuclear power, the preservation of familiar landscapes and energy-intensive lifestyles cannot be realized simultaneously, but are in conflict with each other.

Against this background, the research project addressed the contradictions and consequences resulting from such different requirements. These included the climate protection targets of the Federal Government, energy policy objectives, technical requirements for the expansion of renewable energies, the reduction of energy demand, the preservation of cultural landscapes, and the desire (implicitly shared by politicians and the public) to maintain or even increase the current standard of living in terms of the use of ressources and energy. Based upon that, recommendations for a communication strategy for nature conservation were developed in order to promote the necessity of considerable energy demand reductions as well as the acceptance of a landscape and environmentally friendly energy transition.

The topics were addressed in a three-day workshop, in 34 telephone interviews with experts and in four external expert reports, which were also published in BfN Skript 433:

  1. Psychological aspects of energy behaviour (A. Blöbaum)
  2. Structural preconditions of energy behaviour (D. Ohlhorst)
  3. Framework conditions of a communication strategy of nature conservation (U. Holzmann-Sach)
  4. The possible role of social media (J. Hölderle)

Publications

Demuth, B.; Heiland, S. (2016): Energiewende und Naturschutz – Zum Umgang mit gesellschaftlichen Widersprüchen. In: Ga&S (Geographie aktuell & Schule), Heft 222, 38. Jg. S. 15 – 21. Download

Demuth, B.; Heiland, S. (2016): Naturverträgliche Energiewende – zwischen allen Stühlen?. In: Demuth, B. et al. (Hrsg.) (2016): Die Energiewende im Spannungsfeld energiepolitischer Ziele, gesellschaftlicher Akzeptanz und naturschutzfachlicher Anforderungen. BfN-Skripten 433. S. 4-14. Bonn-Bad Godesberg.

Demuth, B.; Heiland, S.; Luick, R.; Vedel, D.; Ammermann, K.; Wiersbinski, N. (Hrsg.) (2016): Die Energiewende im Spannungsfeld energiepolitischer Ziele, gesellschaftlicher Akzeptanz und naturschutzfachlicher Anforderungen. BfN-Skripten 433. Bonn-Bad-Godesberg.

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