International final conference of the project

20-21 May 2015, Sonthofen/Germany

The Alps have great potential for the use of renewable energy, but energy production and use also increases pressures on nature. The project looks at the trade-offs between the costs and benefits of renewable energy use. In particular, the project looks at impacts of energy production on ecosystem services. The goal is to achieve sustainably used landscapes where ecosystems and their services to people continue to function, and where energy production is optimised for this purpose.

What are the challenges related to renewable energy use in the Alps? What tools can be used to support decision makers in finding the right balance when planning local or regional energy development? These two questions were at the centre of the final conference of the project. The partners have assessed the Alpine potential for biomass, hydropower, solar, and wind energy production, taking into account technical, environmental and social constraints. They presented the tools they have developed to support decision making processes. Representatives from the pilot areas provided glimpses into their experiences with conflict resolution processes that manage to deal with diverging demands on landscape and nature.

We invited decision makers, representatives of public administrations and authorities, of energy businesses and of NGOs to see how the results can make a difference and to discuss with us how renewable energy production and nature conservation in the Alps can be combined. A public evening event, a poster exhibit and an excursion completed the programme.

Programme & Downloads

Wednesday, 20.05.2015

13:00 Welcome coffee and snack, registration
13:30 Nature and energy: challenges of an Alpine town
Christian Wilhelm, Mayor of Sonthofen
13:45 The multiple facets of nature´s services to people
Chris Walzer, Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
14:00 Two sides of the same coin: the energy transition and its challenges for energy production and nature conservation
Frank Pöhler, Director Hydropower at the Bavarian Electric Power company BEW and Georg Bayerle, mountain and environment specialist at the Bavarian Broadcasting
15:30 Optimising renewable energy production for continued ecosystem health: main outcomes of
Introduction: Energy, biodiversity, trade-offs – making balanced decisions. Chris Walzer
Experts’ opinions: a trade-off analysis between renewable energy development and ecosystem services. Alessandro Paletto, Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura
Valuing and mapping ecosystem services for renewable energy planning. Gianluca Grilli, EURAC
Optimizing Renewable Energy Systems in the Alpine Space – balancing production and protection. Florian Kraxner, IIASA
Reconciling renewable energy with nature: some lessons learned in pilot areas. Aleš Poljanec
Sustainable energy development of the Alpine region: for Strategic Environmental Assessment. Daniele Vettorato, EURAC
16:45 Listen, read, discuss: poster exhibit and aperitif
The aperitif is offered by the town of Sonthofen.Posters:Overview of the project activities in the TNP pilot area Summer School
Youth Parliament to the Alpine Convention – general information
Youth Parliament to the Alpine Convention 2015 on Ecosystem Services
Renewable energy sources and soil function impacts
Social Acceptance of renewable energy in Leiblachtal, Vorarlberg

Sample Hectare – method and tool
Evaluation of renewable energy potential in Pilot Areas: a Decision Support System
Test for energy planning in two valleys in Belluno Province
Citizens’ perceptions about renewable energies in Gesso and Vermenagna valleys
Ecologically sustainable operation of hydropower plants
Applying to Pilot Regions
Energy Modelling on the Alpine Bow
20:00-21:30 Podium discussion: Renewable energy and nature protection in the Oberallgäu – a contradiction?
Public event, no registration needed.
Kareem Banimoosa, Youth Parliament on the Alpine Convention / Sonthofen secondary school;
Eike Christiansen, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Construction and Nuclear Safety, Climate protection and energy efficiency Division;
Tomas Frey, nature protection association BUND Naturschutz in Bayern;
Frank Pöhler, Bavarian Electric Power company;
Andreas Scharli, civic foundation Energiewende Oberland;
Chris Walzer, Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Lead partner of the project;
Gilles Chomat, Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention

Thursday, 21.05.2015

08:45 Introduction to the day
09:00 The balancing act between energy and nature can succeed in the Alps
Astrid Björnsen Gurung, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
09:45 Hands-on: how models can help decision makers. Demonstration of the decision support systems developed by
Giulia Garegnani, European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano; Sylvain Leduc, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis; Pietro Zambelli, EURAC; Marco Ciolli, University of Trento (In two groups)
Renewable energy modelling on the Alpine space
The decision support system in the pilot areas
11:15 A journey through Europe’s mountain areas: case studies from the Alps and other European mountain areas
Lessons learnt and recommendations from experiences with stakeholder involvement processes in the pilot area Bavaria. Gerhard Haimerl, BEW, Stefan Witty, CIPRA Germany
Involvement of stakeholders and local communities in two Alpine valleys in the Province of Belluno. Francesca Miotello, Veneto Region
Modelling energy demand and optimizing local energy systems in mountain regions: Insights from mountainous Greece. Dimitris Kaliampakos, National Technical University of Athens
Instrument „Sample hectare“ and its implementation in Vorarlberg. Markus Berchtold, Regionalentwicklung Vorarlberg
Modeling woody biomass for energy use in Triglav National Park. Rok Pisek, Slovenia Forest Service
12:15 Beyond open questions (podium discussion with the project observers)
Stefano Basso, Eawag;
Matteo Cesca, Veneto Regional Agency for Prevention and Environmental Protection;
Ingrid Fischer, Town of Sonthofen/Alpine Town of the Year Association;
Bettina Hedden-Dunkhorst, Ecological Network Platform of the Alpine Convention;
12:55 Looking ahead: ideas for new initiatives aimed at balancing energy development and nature conservation in the Alpine Space
Eva Stare, Alpine Space Programme
13:10 Closing words
Chris Walzer
14:00 Local solutions for energy transition challenges: field trips
1. Hydropower: Ecological optimisation of a hydropower plant at the river Iller. Visit of the pilot activity at Altusried (Transfer by bus)
The operation of hydropower plants has an impact on nature and causes changes in aquatic ecology in river sections. Therefore BEW pays special attention to preserving the habitats of plants and animals when modernizing and operating power plants. In the context of the project BEW has developed and tested measures in the pilot area Upper Iller, which to both prevent and minimize the impact of hydropower plants on nature and to improve ecological potentials.


(c) BEW

2.It’s all in the mix: energy village Wildpoldsried (Transfer by bus)
Wildpoldsried has received several awards for its successful use of a broad spectrum of renewable energy sources. The village produces five times more electricity from renewable sources than it consumes – thanks to the use of biogas, wood pellets, wind, and hydropower as well as energy efficiency and awareness raising measures . This field trip will also explain how the population gets involved and how nature conservation aspects are considered. (en)

(c) Gemeinde Wildpoldsried

(c) Gemeinde Wildpoldsried

3. Wood-fired power plant Sonthofen: energy from local wood
for commercial, housing, and public facilities (by foot; ends at 16:00)
A forest has many features. It provides biomass for the production of renewable energy, it serves as a place for recreation, and it filters our water. This field trip introduces you to the generation of energy from local wood in Sonthofen, and you will learn what this implies for other roles of the forest. (de)

Wildpodsried_HeinzHeiss _1__1

(c) Heinz Heiss

17:00 End of conference


Organisation and contact
Irene Brendt
CIPRA Germany
+49 1522 954 28 95