Energy in the Alps


Key Issues and Recommendations

A fundamental re-orientation of energy policy in the Alpine countries is required in order to steer the Alpine region on a trajectory towards sustainability in the field of energy. Key issues include the following points:
  • The continuing growth in energy demand is a major obstacle for any attempt to significantly increase the share of environmentally-friendly, renewable energy, reduce the heavy reliance on exhaustible fossil fuels and achieve long-term reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve this goal, existing measures to promote technology change need to be extended and complemented with systemic measures that foster low-energy patterns of production and consumption such as a socio-ecological tax reform and changes in infrastructure policy.
  • Measures to promote an increased supply of renewable energy from hydropower, wind, biomass and solar energy need to be evaluated carefully with respect to their social, economic and ecological implications. Current standards applied to new hydropower projects, for example, are obviously not sufficient to convince the majority of conservationists that ecological concerns are being adequately addressed. Measures to promote biomass use for energy generation are still welcomed by most environmentalists due to their potential to reduce fossil fuel consumption, but this could change rapidly if measures to promote woody biomass for energy provision the most important biomass potential available in the Alpine region were shown to jeopardize the ability of forest ecosystems to deliver the vital ecosystem services they currently provide.

Alternative Energy Ressources: solar and bio energy (Source:
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Further Readings & Links

APER (2007)
A descriptive research article about the prospects for the development of biomass and biocarbonates.

KOHL (2005)
Excellent short comparison of the various alternative energy sources based on economic and ecological factors.