A Pioneer in Transition: Horizon Scanning of Emerging Issues in Germany’s Sustainable Wind Energy Development

  • Johann KöppelEmail author
  • Juliane Biehl
  • Volker Wachendörfer
  • Alexander Bittner


With both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, certainly no-one anticipated the challenging trade-offs between renewable energy development and conservation of biological diversity. Densely populated Germany ranks third in worldwide installed wind energy capacity, only outpaced by China and the USA so far. However, power and interest shifts via well-organised civil and political opposition indicate that efforts to reconcile climate protection and wildlife conservation cannot be taken for granted.

Funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), the horizon scan aimed at identifying the emerging need for collaborative action, based on the viewpoints of various stakeholders and the state of research in wildlife conservation and wind energy development. We applied a multi-faceted, inclusive, and peer-reviewed research process, building on ca. 50 explorative expert interviews, previous research, and a literature review. Interviewees ranged across academia, agencies, wind developers, consultants, associations, and environmental groups. The process yielded 18 emerging issues at the nexus of wind and wildlife, planning and technologies, and social aspects to cope with the challenges ahead. We present a majority of the issues in this chapter and conclude with guiding follow-up principles.


Horizon scanning approach Transformation Sustainable Development Goals Cumulative effects Landscape-scale conservation Knowledge management Planning approaches Adaptive management 



Open image in new window The horizon scan was supported by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU). We particularly thank our interview partners, panellists, and renowned experts for their contributions and valuable comments on earlier versions of the horizon scan study. We want to express our gratitude towards our two reviewers, whom we are highly indebted to for their valuable feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Assessment and Planning Research Group, Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin)BerlinGermany
  2. 2.Deutsche Bundesstiftung UmweltOsnabrückGermany

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