Publications (FIS)

How to achieve the climate targets?

Spatial planning in the context of the German energy transition

authored by
Julia Wiehe, Christina von Haaren, Anna Maria Walter

Background: The transition of the energy system to renewable energy depends on how successfully the national objectives can be implemented at the lower planning levels. Germany pursues an incentive-oriented policy that is not spatially targeted and lets regional and local stakeholders determine where and how renewable energies are used. A core question is how to achieve the national goals, in a federal system that allows freedom of planning for the local communities. The aim of this paper is to show the discrepancies between the current expansion of wind energy and the necessary expansion that is derived from a scientific analysis. Methods: The study examined the policy objectives for the expansion of wind energy, based on a literature analysis. In a second step, the regulatory competences and spatial planning at the various levels and their influence on the expansion were explored. In a third step, the current procedure was compared with scientific scenarios of the energy system in 2050 and concretized using the example of the Hannover Region. Results: The theoretical and empirical analysis shows that people at regional level underestimate their responsibility for contributing to energy transition. The expansion targets for wind energy in the Hannover Region projected in the scientific scenario are above the minimum demand that the local authorities have assumed. The same applies to the state of Lower Saxony, which underestimates its own wind energy potential and thus its necessary contribution to achieving the national targets. Conclusions: We propose a nationwide coordinated strategy for the successful implementation of the energy transition. With the methodology described, regional targets can be determined and the responsibility of the region and the local actors can be clarified. With the help of spatial planning and public participation, the energy transition can be achieved with this approach.

Institute of Environmental Planning
Energy, Sustainability and Society
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment, Development, Energy Engineering and Power Technology
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)