No Access Submitted: 04 July 2019 Accepted: 23 October 2019 Published Online: 26 November 2019
Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy 11, 063303 (2019);
Although renewable energy production is widely accepted as clean, it is not necessarily environmental neutral since, for example, wind turbines kill large numbers of airborne animals such as bats. Consequently, stakeholders involved in the planning and operation of wind turbines are often in conflict when trying to reconcile both goals, namely, promoting wind energy production and protecting bats. We report the responses to an online questionnaire sent out to stakeholders to assess this conflict. More than 80% of stakeholders acknowledged the conflict between bat conservation and wind energy production; yet, the majority was confident about solutions and all desired an ecologically sustainable energy transition. All groups, except members of the wind energy sector, disagreed with the statements that wind energy production is of higher priority than biodiversity protection and that global warming is more critical than the biodiversity crisis. All groups agreed that more measures have to be taken to make wind energy production ecologically sustainable and that the society should be included to pay for the implementation of these measures. All stakeholders except for members of the wind energy sector agreed on that revenue losses from wind energy production and delays in the transition process should be acceptable to resolve the green–green dilemma. Among offered choices, most stakeholders suggested engaging in more research, improving the efficiency of energy use and implementing context dependent cut-in speed during wind turbine operation. The suggestion to weaken the legal protection of wildlife species was dismissed by all, underlining the consensus to protect biodiversity.
We thank all participants of our survey for taking the time to answer the questionnaire. Further, we would like to thank the attendants of the conference “evidenzbasierter Fledermausschutz in Windkraftvorhaben” for the discussion of this topic. The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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