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The project deals with the trade-off between renewable energy use and conservation of nature and biodiversity. logo.jpg

Full project title and funding programme

Full title of project:

Funding programme: Alpine Space Programme


01.10.2012 – 30.06.2015

Project partners


The growing demand for renewable energy (RE) will increase the pressure on the Alpine environment. It will strongly impact land use patterns, ecological connectivity and biodiversity. Both the demand for renewable energy and the need for the conservation of biodiversity, soil, and connectivity transcend national borders. A transnational dialogue to address multiple environmental objectives, interdependences and trade-offs between various ecosystem services, and conflicting priorities, is urgently needed. The projects' core objective is to develop tools and an integrated strategy for renewable energy production, sustainable land use systems as well as the conservation of biodiversity and soil across the Alpine region, so as to support the implementation of relevant EU Directives. It valorises Alpine biodiversity, land use patterns and related ecosystem services, and model the carrying capacity of the Alpine ecosystems with respect to all aspects of RE production and consumption.

Problems to be addressed

The following key questions will be addressed:

  1. How much energy could the Alpine region potentially produce (based on various scenarios) and how much is sustainable while respecting national, European and international biodiversity targets?
  2. What are the main risks/conflicts in that context and how can the dialogue with relevant stakeholders be guided?
  3. Given that a landscape level approach to biodiversity conservation, soil protection and sustainable land use is essential, what are the consequences of plans for the macro-regional development of renewables production and export in the Alpine region?
  4. How can one best reconcile the Habitat (92/43EEC) and Bird Directive (79/409EEC) and the Directive on RE (2009/28 EC)?
  5. How can the full social costs of renewable energy production be determined / monitored?
  6. How can the needs of RE production and subsequent impacts for nature & biodiversity be covered by formal planning procedures like SEA?


  • To reconcile RE production and sustainable land use systems together with the conservation of biodiversity & soil across the Alpine region.
  • To increase the resource efficiency with respect to water, energy, land use and biodiversity.
  • To identify conflicting priorities and modelling the carrying capacity of Alpine ecosystems with respect to RE production.
  • To support the process of developing market segments like innovation in alternative RE production or storage.
  • To raise public awareness and target young people as future decision makers.
  • To launch a dialogue with policy and decisionmakers on land use planning and energy issues and stimulate a search for solutions.

Actions on low-carbon economy, energy efficiency and nZEBs

  • Generation of renewable energy (RE) potential maps: for biomass, wind, hydro and solar for the Alpine region and the pilot areas.
  • Model the carrying capacity of the Alps for renewable energy production.
  • Optimal siting of RE while considering potentials, ranking & policy makers (ministries, authorities, project observers).

Expected and achieved results

Expected results Definition of RE production carrying capacity for the Alpine region including a perspective for the macro-region. Effective analytical & planning tool developed to address links between RE production/consumption and conservation of biodiversity, soil, ecological functioning and provision of multiple ecosystem services (ESS).

Identification of trade-offs between RE production, biodiversity conservation & ecological connectivity; opportunities to turn them into co-benefits are identified. Proposal for natural resource governance model, including integrated planning approach for sustainable RE production; stakeholders trained in its use Demand of RE integrated in land use planning.

Achieved results

  • Definition of RE production carrying capacity for the Alpine region.
  • Effective analytical & planning tool.
  • Identification of trade-offs between RE production, biodiversity conservation & ecological connectivity.
  • Proposal for natural resource governance model.

Outputs developed by the project

The following outputs are not available yet since is a running EU project.

Contact and homepage

Project homepage


ViSiBLE report identification of successes and common challenges of EU-funded projects (2014)