Contributions Workshop 3.1.E:
Renewable Energy: Impacts on Mountain environments and people


ID: 250
Workshop & Poster
Wind energy potential in complex alpine terrain
Keywords: Wind energy, mountain winds, resource assessment, ES 2050, renewables

Kruyt, Bert1,2; Lehning, Michael1,2
1Institut für Schnee und Lawinenforschung SLF, Davos Switzerland; 2Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Workshop and Poster Abstract: 

With the decision to move away from nuclear-based power generation, Switzerland has committed itself to an ambitious energy transition. Wind power appears a suitable candidate to partially fill the gap left behind by nuclear. It has a favorable seasonal profile, which is highly compatible with Switzerland’s hydropower (Dujardin et al. 2017) and due to its low associated emissions, aligns well with climate targets. Much uncertainty surrounds the potential for wind power development in Switzerland, however. Based on course resolution assessments, potential appears unattractive at current electricity market prices. A closer inspection of local terrain effects might reveal favorable wind conditions, especially in the Alpine (Kruyt et al. 2017). This contribution presents investigation of local Alpine wind potential.

Using output from the COSMO-1 model, we calculate how much capacity is required to produce an annual wind power target of 4, 6 or even 12 TWh. We find that allowing for turbines at high elevations reduces the capacity that is required to meet each target.

Building on the results obtained with the COSMO model, simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model are conducted. Here we aim to explore if the increased spatial and temporal resolution can help identify areas where terrain induced flows lead to favorable conditions for wind power development. Data from weather stations, as well as existing turbines in the Swiss Alps is used to validate the model performance. Initial simulations of the alpine region around Andermatt show good correlation with measurement stations and existing turbines in the area. Further simulations of various domains and weather patterns will allow us to fine tune the model and use it for detailed resource assessment.


ID: 279
Workshop & Poster
Project Sinfonia _ "Passeggiata dei Castani"
Keywords: Social Housing, Participatory design process

Benedikter, Manuel1; Kopeinig, Gerhard2
1Architekturbüro, Arch. Manuel Benedikter, Italy; 2ARCH & MORE, Arch. Dipl.-Ing. Gerhard Kopeinig, Austria

Workshop Abstract: 

The SINFONIA project is a five-year initiative to deploy large-scale, integrated and scalable energy solutions in mid-sized European cities. At the heart of the initiative is a unique cooperation between the cities of Bolzano and Innsbruck, working hand in hand to achieve 40 to 50% primary energy savings and increase the share of renewables by 20% in two pioneer districts. This will be done through an integrated set of measures combining the retrofitting of more than 100,000m² of living surface, optimisation of the electricity grid, and solutions for district heating and cooling.
The local partners are: EURAC, Comune di Bolzano, IPES, Alperia, Agenzia per l’Energia Alto Adige - CasaClima e IDM Südtirol-Alto Adige.

The refurbishment oft he 72 flats building is finished, in March the monitoring will start. Innovations: the first wooden prefabricated “put-on-façade” in Italy instead of a classical thermal insulation composite system, ventilated aluminium cladding, factor 10: starting with an heating energy consumption of 220 kWh/m²a coming down to 20 kWh/m²a. Using 80 % of renewable energy for covering heating and domestic hot water.

Poster Abstract:

The refurbishment oft he 72 flats building is finished, in March the monitoring will start. Innovations: the first wooden prefabricated “put-on-façade” in Italy instead of a classical thermal insulation composite system, ventilated aluminium cladding, factor 10: starting with an heating energy consumption of 220 kWh/m²a coming down to 20 kWh/m²a. Using 80 % of renewable energy for covering heating and domestic hot water.


ID: 409
Workshop & Poster
Alpine Hydropower - Enabler of the Energy Transition

Goekler, Gottfried
Vorarlberger Illwerke AG, Austria

Workshop Abstract: 

Because of favorable topographical conditions, a rich supply of water and excellent technical experience the Alpine region has become the most important hydropower region in Europe. In 2017, a study by Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpine Wasserkraft (AGAW) has shown that more than 1,000 hydroelectric power plants are operated in the Alps, with a total capacity of approx. 64 GW (~40% of the European Union) and an annual generation of approx. 166 TWh. Thus, Alpine hydropower avoids CO2 emissions of 73 million tons per year and is to a significant extent the enabler of the energy transition especially for integrating intermittend renewable energy sources (iRES).

Today, the installations of iRES like wind and photovoltaic are hugely growing and will increase the further necessities for storage of electricity and flexibility e.g. now there are days with 100% renewables to meet the demand and days with only a few percent of the needed electrical energy. As a consequence the dispatchable energy facilitiis are balancing in between demand and generation of the indispatchable energy carriers. This is called the residual load. Pumped hydro and hydro storage plants are well fitted to deliver high flexible power just in the moment when it is demanded. So far the huge increasing of the renewables need even more flexible balancing. Actually AGAW is carrying out a further study to quantify the flexibility requirements of a renewables-based electricity system with forecasts up to 2050 and what contribution Alpine hydropower can make, both alone and in conjunction with all other flexibility options. It will be shown which possibilities and advantages pumped storage provides for future requirements for balancing power, frequency control and capacity market. Therefore pumped hydropower storage will have a new role in the clean energy transition for integrating volatile renewables.


ID: 426
Workshop & Poster
Hands off the alps? Choice Experiment on Peoples preferences on Landscape developments through New Renewable Energy Infrastructures in Swiss Alpine Landscapes
Keywords: new renewable energies, landscape preferences, meanings, survey, choice model

Salak, Boris1; Hunziker, Marcel1; Kienast, Felix1; Spielhofer, Reto2; Wissen, Ulrike2; Grêt-Regamey, Adrienne2
1Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland; 2ETH PLUS Zürich 

Workshop Abstract: 

To limit the consequences of climate change an overall energy turnaround from a fossil to a renewable energy system (RES) is necessary. Research shows that citizens from different alpine countries agree to the need of this change but when it comes to a physical manifestation of new renewable energy infrastructures (nREI) especially in their nearby surroundings resistance often follows. Landscapes seem to play a crucial role in the cognitive consideration process of likes and dislikes and therefore seem to be a key trigger for the social acceptance (SA) of landscape-oriented developments like the energy turnaround.

A Swiss-representative online panel survey focused on the research of people’s preferences regarding the implementation of nREI in 7 typical low-, midland and mountainous landscapes from within the alpine region. Numerous scenarios of wind-, PV and high-voltage overhead lines infrastructures in those landscapes are represented in a discrete choice experiment (DCE).

Results show that people do see potential for the development of nREI in Switzerland and both landscapes and already existing (energy)infrastructures seem to be major preference indicators. Scenarios in alpine landscapes without existing infrastructure turned out to be the least preferred scenarios at all, whereas alpine landscapes with touristic infrastructures (cable-cars) turned out to be the most preferred landscapes for nREI in this study. Also, the less (energy)infrastructure the scenarios show the more preference is given but with differences in landscapes. In addition, connotations to nREI and to landscapes show effects on the preference behavior.

It seems very unlikely to foster SA for RES-transition, if the development occurs in landscapes, people intend to protect from such developments. These findings could tribute to development-, participation-, planning- and siting procedures from community to national level as they help to define the perceived suitability of landscapes for the energy turnaround.

Poster Abstract:

In addition to the abstract application of the oral presentation above, this poster will focus more on the meanings people assign to characteristic alpine landscapes and new renewable energy infrastructures. Also, we will visually present some 3D scenarios we have developed within the project “ENERGYSCAPE” which built the basis for the choice model assessment described.


ID: 586
Workshop & Poster
Social acceptance of the planned dam Trift in a valuable landscape in the Swiss Alps

Kellner, Elke
University of Bern, Institute of Geography & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Switzerland

Workshop and Poster Abstract: 

New dam projects in valuable landscapes have the potential for conflicts due to their ecological and scenic impacts and competing water uses. This article examines different influences on social acceptance of a planned dam project in front of the retreating Trift glacier at an altitude of 1767 m.s.l. in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. The dam would transform the new formed lake in front of the Trift glacier into a hydropower reservoir. The first project ideas started in 2008 with feasibility studies through a Swiss National Research Program. Based on the results of the studies and on experience with former projects, the canton and the hydropower company established a broad participatory process with different groups prior to the main formal concession-procedure to prevent objections and stalemates.

The results show that political acceptance of the new energy strategy in Switzerland and the unprotected area of the project site are basic requirements to create such a participatory process and promotes the participation of important actors such as NGOs. Processual determinants (like procedural justice, trust building as well as a polycentric approach of the participative process which includes actors from different sectors and levels) and not processual determinants (like the geographical context, environmental impact, distributional justice, ownership of the hydropower company as well as interrelations with other stages of the Trift project and with processes beyond the Trift project) influence community acceptance.

The article shows that the acceptance of this dam project is based on a set of actor’s positions as well as on interrelations between complex, polycentric processes at different levels. This should be taken into account when planning new dams in the mountains.


ID: 591
Workshop & Poster
PV Production in Snow Covered Mountains – Benefits and Risk

Lehning, Michael
WSL Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung, SLF, Davos, Schweiz

Workshop and Poster Abstract: 

In an effort to replace non-renewable energy worldwide, the installation of wind and solar has made much progress in recent years. Although high altitude regions would be favorable for solar energy production, PV installations in high mountains are rare and the potential of mountain PV is underused. We review the quantitative advantage of installing PV panels in the mountains of Switzerland and show that mountain installations can reduce the Swiss winter electricity production gap by 50% if panels are installed at a steep angle. Radiation reflected from the snow surface plays an important role in this winter production benefit.

We further list factors that make mountain PV installations more difficult than installations in lower and less remote areas. For each of the factors such as snow on the panels, rock fall, difficult infrastructure and social acceptance / landscape effects we qualitatively discuss potential solutions. In conclusion, we see an important role in mountain PV installations not only for the Swiss energy turn around but also for the development of local mountain communities in Alpine countries and worldwide.


ID: 617
Workshop & Poster
Europe's Battery: A History of Hydropower Development in the Alps, 1850 to the present
Keywords: Alps, hydroelectricity, energy, dams, history

Landry, Marc
Department of History & Philosophy, New Orleans, USA

Workshop and Poster Abstract: 

Beginning in the early twentieth century a peculiar phenomenon appeared across the Alpine landscape. Around 1900 certain existing Alpine lakes began increasing in size. At the same time new ones began emerging on the map. This change represented the reversal of a trend that had obtained for nearly 10,000 years. By the 1970s, the iconic mountain range in the heart of Europe was home to over three hundred new bodies of water.

These changes were only the most visible result of human intervention into the Alpine environment. Starting in the 1880s, Europeans began modifying the Alpine landscape to generate a new type of energy: hydroelectricity. Particularly after the First World War, Europeans constructed dams to store mountain water power and in so doing created new reservoirs in the landscape. By the postwar period, the Alps produced over half of western Europe’s electricity supply. Dam building also completely transformed alpine hydrology.

My research seeks to explore the history of these changes to the Alpine landscape. I argue that under the new energy regime, the Alps came to be viewed as a particular type of energy landscape which I call “Europe’s Battery”. During this time period, Europeans converted the central European mountain range into the world’s largest natural system for storing hydraulic energy. Analyzing why Europeans utilized the Alps in this manner, my work shows the crucial role that energy use plays in the human relationship with the natural environment. It also adds an important new perspective to our understanding of the history of the Alps as an industrial mountain range at the center of European history.


ID: 228
Specific Research Poster
How can socio-environmental resilience of high-altitude hydropower system be read in the Landscape?
Keywords: High-altitude hydropower system, trajectories, socio-environmental resilience, hydroelectric territories, mountain landscape

BARRIL, Matthieu; ASTRADE, Laurent; DELANNOY, Jean-Jacques; FORGET, Marie
EDYTEM, CNRS, France ; Université savoie Mont-Blanc, France

Poster Abstract:

Since the second half of the 20st century, French high mountains have been profoundly modified by the development of large hydroelectric infrastructures (Bonin 2008; Dalmasso 2008; Gérard 1996; Faure 2008). Today, some of the major infrastructures of last century are concerned by different dynamics: some are re-equipped and / or reinforced (Guerber et Roche 2017), some have become tourism opportunities (Rodriguez, 2012), some are patrimonial objects, others dismantled. In these “high-altitude hydropower system” in which landscape and hydroelectric territories are intimately linked (Bouvier, Varaschin, et Bonnot 2017; Heaulmé 2014; Salomon, Clanet, et Blancher 2011), different trajectories (environmental, political, social, …) have taken place from the construction of the infrastructures to the current issues. The hypothesis is that the study of landscape trajectories of the hydroelectric territories, from the pre-construction to today, allows to defined different steps of a “hydroelectric landscape” (opposition landscape, productive landscape, acceptance landscape, patrimonial landscape, ….). Subsequently, public policies trajectories and representation trajectories could be read in these different landscapes if we add interviews of actors and local population (Davasse et al. 2012). Though the study of these past and current trajectories and their interactions with a landscape approach, this poster aims to show how our work in progress intends to take into account the socio-environmental resilience of high-altitude hydropower system in the mountain landscapes.


ID: 452
Specific Research Poster
Floating PV in mountain artificial lakes: a sustainable contribution?
Keywords: renewables, local development, energy transition, multi-criteria decision-making support

Piana, Valentino Carlo Luigi
HES-SO Valais/Wallis, Switzerland

Poster Abstract: 

A large expansion of renewable energy is key to zero-emissions electric generation, supporting further decarbonization in other sectors, such as mobility through electric vehicles. Utility-scale PV are now among the cheapest ways to produce electricity but require large surface extension, potentially in a conflictual way with other uses. Mountains have usually favourable conditions for solar energy and are, in some part, scarsely populated, but they have a high landscape value and several fragilities. Floating photovoltaic panels over dam reservoirs may provide a relatively inexpensive and highly upscalable increase of electricity supply, with synergies with existing hydro-plants (e.g. in transmission lines). In this work, after a brief description of the system and its general features, building on state-of-art world reports, an evaluation of the potential of Swiss artificial lakes for floating PV installation is explored, with particular attention to a broad and diverse set of social, environmental and landscaping constraints and opportunities. In order to support appropriate decision-making, a set of raccommendations is produced to fit the need of all stakeholders, including local communities, energy experts, businesses and regulators.


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