Clean Energy Production
National requirements for sustainable development raise the question whether there is regional potential to improve resource management from an ecological point of view. This involves finding substitutes for non-renewable energy sources, increasing resource efficiency and augmenting the regional autonomy with regard to mass resources.
Photovoltaic celles transform the sunlight into electric power. Source: www.pixelio.de).
Agriculture, forestry and the hydropower are the suppliers of energy, whereas industry, trade, services, traffic, households and tourism are the consumers. The use of local, renewable sources of energy ensures that mountain communities can enjoy both greater independence and safety with respect to energy supply:
- In mountain regions worldwide, local hydropower produced by water turbines is an important energy source with different economic and environmental impacts on a region, depending on the size of the station (CAVIEZEL 2004).
- Recently, a variety of solar energy systems including special house construction and electricity supplied by photovoltaic (solar-electric) systems have been introduced. Some of these systems are especially suitable for areas with intense sunlight and low temperatures, such as Alpine regions.
- Wood is an important renewable energy resource. And because trees recycle carbon dioxide, wood burning does not contribute to the problem of climate change. As well, advanced combustion technologies mean more heat and less smoke. It is possible to reduce energy consumption in homes by 80 to 90% with an energy efficient construction. The advancement of local wood production and wood-furnaces raise the regional value added in a region and contribute to a sustainable forest management.
- Biogas can be gained from organic waste (from farms, restaurands and private homes) and presents a high potential for farmers to produce renewable energy.
Due to the high potential of renewable energy production in Alpine regions, the highlands could eventually become a supplier of renewable energy in the future. Thus, a high degree of sustainability in resource management can increase interregional resource interaction.
For further information on renewable energy production, see also the tutorial "Energy in the Alps".
HUG & BACCINI (2002)
Physiological interactions between highland and lowland regions in the context of long-term resource management.
BRÜGGER & MÜHLETHALER (2007)
CO2-balance of forests - possibilites for the forest industry by means of a concrete example in a Swiss forest business.
CIPRA Climalp (2004)
A report on energy efficient houses made from regional wood from the alps.
JÄGER & SENTI (2007)
A short report on a biomass power station in Domat-Ems, Switzerland.
Website of Swiss farmer power, on biogas made from manure, a carbon-dioxide neutral energy source.