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Renewable energy, authenticity, and tourism: social acceptance of photovoltaic installations in a Swiss Alpine region


Michel, Annina Helena; Buchecker, Matthias; Backhaus, Norman (2015). Renewable energy, authenticity, and tourism: social acceptance of photovoltaic installations in a Swiss Alpine region. Mountain Research and Development, 35(2):161-170.

Abstract

With the increasing emergence of renewable energy sites in Switzerland, new impacts on the landscape can be observed. Above the Alpine village of Bellwald, a pilot project testing avalanche barriers as a possible site for photovoltaic installations was inaugurated in 2012. This study focused on social aspects of the project and asked questions about local residents' and tourists' perceptions of and attitudes toward the installations. Its findings reveal that the new elements are not perceived as a drastic intrusion into the landscape, because the view was already affected by the avalanche barriers, which are accepted because of their vital protective function. No significant difference was found between residents' and tourists' evaluation of the new photovoltaic installations. However, different factors influenced the perceptions of these 2 groups. In both groups, conceptions related to place played an important role in the evaluation of possible photovoltaic sites.

Abstract

With the increasing emergence of renewable energy sites in Switzerland, new impacts on the landscape can be observed. Above the Alpine village of Bellwald, a pilot project testing avalanche barriers as a possible site for photovoltaic installations was inaugurated in 2012. This study focused on social aspects of the project and asked questions about local residents' and tourists' perceptions of and attitudes toward the installations. Its findings reveal that the new elements are not perceived as a drastic intrusion into the landscape, because the view was already affected by the avalanche barriers, which are accepted because of their vital protective function. No significant difference was found between residents' and tourists' evaluation of the new photovoltaic installations. However, different factors influenced the perceptions of these 2 groups. In both groups, conceptions related to place played an important role in the evaluation of possible photovoltaic sites.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:06 Aug 2015 09:45
Last Modified:20 May 2016 09:26
Publisher:International Mountain Society
ISSN:0276-4741
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-14-00111.1

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