German govt calls for stronger nature protection in energy transition

BERLIN: The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) called for a stronger consideration of nature protection in regard to the expansion of renewable energies in Germany, a report published by the BfN on Wednesday shows.

“The energy transition must take place in a way that is compatible with nature and the environment,” said Beate Jessel, president of the German nature conservation agency BfN.

The expansion of renewable energies was “absolutely necessary” to achieve Germany’s climate protection goals as well as to protect species and habitats from the “consequences of climate change”, Jessel added.

However, the high number and “wide geographical distribution” of renewable energy plants would contribute to changes in land use and landscape as well as creating risks for certain species and their habitats, according to BfN. Currently, “close-to-nature areas” such as forests or extensively used grassland were increasingly being exploited to set up renewable energy plants, the report reads.

The economical use of area is a central claim of the BfN report. “Area-efficient technologies” should be used more intensively, locations for renewable energy plants should be “carefully” selected and existing roof areas, especially in large metropolitan regions, should be used for solar panels.

In 2018, Germany generated about 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, water and photovoltaic.

Still, the largest single energy source was brown coal, which accounted for around a quarter of the total electricity mix, while the German coal commission recommended phasing out of coal-fired energy generation until 2038 in its report published in January.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2019

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