Renewable energies—such as solar photovoltaic power, hydropower,wind power, and forest biomass—have a key role in the European Union (EU) policy aimed at enhancing energy security and mitigating climate change. The new target established by European Commission for 2030 is a 30% improvement in energy efficiency, 40% less greenhouses gas emissions, and 27% increase in energy generation from renewable sources. In order to achieve this target, it will be necessary to define a political strategy to increase renewable energies' production. The renewable energies' production generates different kinds of environmental impacts, depending mainly on the energy source. For this reason, transdisciplinary and local expertise are crucial in order to assess impacts on various ecosystem services and to choose the best renewable energy sources to develop. This study evaluates the potential effects of renewable energies development on Alpine ecosystem services using a questionnaire-based survey. The questionnaire was administrated to a sample of 45 experts in several Alpine areas. Experts' opinions are fundamental for anticipating potential social costs and benefits caused by renewable energies and ensuring a successful formulation and implementation of energy policies, reducing conflicts and improving cooperation among the different groups of interest.
This study was conducted in the frame of the recharge.green project “Balancing Alpine Energy and Nature” (http://www.recharge-green.eu). The project was carried out within the Alpine Space Programme, and was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The authors would like to thank Simone Bertin, Stefano Sisto, Erica Zangrando (Veneto Region, Department of Economy and Development in Mountain Areas), Tomaž Kralj and Renata Rozman (Triglav National Park), Aleš Poljanec, Tina Simončič and Špela Ščap (Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana), Luca Giraudo (Maritime Alps Natural Park), Geitner Clemens and Hastik Richard (Department of Geography, University of Innsbruck), and all the experts who answered the questionnaire.
I. INTRODUCTION II. MATERIALS AND METHODS A. Pilot areas B. Survey III. RESULTS A. Pilot areas B. Field of expertise C. Protected areas IV. DISCUSSION A. Hydropower B. Forest biomass C. Wind power D. Solar PV power V. CONCLUSIONS