Experts' opinions on the effects of renewable energy development on ecosystem services in the Alpine region
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Renewable energies-such as solar photovoltaic power, hydropower, wind power, and forest biomass-have a key role in the European Union (EU) policy aimed at enhancing energy security and mitigating climate change. The new target established by European Commission for 2030 is a 30% improvement in energy efficiency, 40% less greenhouses gas emissions, and 27% increase in energy generation from renewable sources. In order to achieve this target, it will be necessary to define a political strategy to increase renewable energies' production. The renewable energies' production generates different kinds of environmental impacts, depending mainly on the energy source. For this reason, transdisciplinary and local expertise are crucial in order to assess impacts on various ecosystem services and to choose the best renewable energy sources to develop. This study evaluates the potential effects of renewable energies development on Alpine ecosystem services using a questionnaire-based survey. The questionnaire was administrated to a sample of 45 experts in several Alpine areas. Experts' opinions are fundamental for anticipating potential social costs and benefits caused by renewable energies and ensuring a successful formulation and implementation of energy policies, reducing conflicts and improving cooperation among the different groups of interest. (C) 2016 AIP Publishing LLC.