Sustainable deployment of renewable energies with multiple environmental impacts

Policy strategies to address ecological trade-offs of the energy transition (MultiplEE)

Junior Research Group


Department of Economics

Dr. Paul Lehmann (Head)
Prof. Dr. Erik Gawel
Charlotte Geiger
Jan-Niklas Meier
Antje Nieber
Philip Tafarte

Department of Conservation Biology

Dr. Reinhard Klenke
Elisabeth Wolfram


University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Institute for Infrastructure and Resources Management (Grant recipient)


09/2017 – 08/2022


Granted as an inter- and transdisciplinary junior research group within the programme Socio-ecological Research of the Federal Ministry of Eduction and Research (BMBF)


The public support of the deployment of renewable energy sources (RES) aims at mitigating the negative environmental impacts of fossil-fuelled power generation, particularly climate change. However, RES deployment itself may also impair environmental quality, e.g., by destroying natural habitats, emitting noise or changing scenic landscapes. Against this background, this research project addresses the question how the regulatory framework in Germany and Europe may be designed to promote the transition of the power sector sustainably, considering the multiple relevant environmental impacts.

Within this research project, researchers develop three major contributions jointly with practitioners:

First, a comprehensive set of sustainability criteria – including all relevant environmental impacts – is developed to evaluate RES deployment.

Second, this evaluation framework is applied to identify policy scenarios which mitigate trade-offs a) between different environmental impacts of RES deployment, and b) between environmental protection and further energy policy objectives, such as economic efficiency, security of supply and social compatibility. Possible policy scenarios include, inter alia, ecologically targeted RES support schemes or strengthened land-use planning. The conceptual and empirical analyses encompass approaches from ecology, energy system analysis, economics and political sciences. For this purpose, ecological and socio-technical modeling approaches are combined.

Third, research results are translated into specific recommendations for adjusting the governance architecture guiding RES deployment at the regional level (e.g., regional plans), the national level (e.g. RES support schemes), and the European level (e.g., the Renewables Directive).