A paraître…in « Renewable Energies and European Landscapes: Lessons from southern European cases (ed. Springer)


Conflicts of landscape in the Pyrenees during the rise of hydroelectric power

Serge BRIFFAUD*, Emmanuelle HEAULMÉ*, Véronique ANDRÉ-LAMAT**, Bernard DAVASSE*,

Isabelle SACAREAU**

* ADESS – UMR 5185 du C.N.R.S. – Equipe CEPAGE – E.N.S.A.P. Bordeaux

** ADESS – UMR 5185 du C.N.R.S. – Université de Bordeaux III

 Abstract. The development of hydroelectricity in the French central Pyrenees at the beginning of the 20th century gave rise to some strong resistance, all in the name of landscape preservation and protection of the tourist resource that it represented. Space had to be shared, and some reserves of picturesque features were obtained from the industrialists, in exchange for a free hand in tourist development. The chapter analyses how the interplay of actors brings about this spatial partition. It shows the ambivalence of the discourse constructed to legitimise it. By looking in depth at the case of the protected site of Gavarnie, it sheds light on the nature of the social issues that were emerging as a background to this resistance to hydroelectricity in the landscape and shows how, through it, the power of an elite as an aesthetic authority, was imposed on communities in the mountain areas.



The development of renewable energies in Sierra Nevada (Southern Spain)

Marina Frolova*, Yolanda Jiménez*, Miguel Ángel Sánchez*, Alfredo Requena*, Belén Pérez*

* University of Granada

 Abstract. This chapter explores some of the key aspects of the relationship between mountain landscape and hydropower and its long-standing, changeable relationship with tourism development. Our case study of the Sierra Nevada mountain-range in Southern Spain (Andalusia) shows how the development of renewables affects mountain landscapes and landscape values. There are various hydropower plants in the study area and wind and solar power infrastructures developed fast over the period 2004-2010. The analysis of the evolution of hydropower in mountain landscapes provides useful lessons for understanding the influence of new forms of renewable energy, not only in terms of their landscape impact, but also in terms of the emerging landscape values.



A critical reading through landscape

Viviana Ferrario* and Benedetta Castiglioni**

*Università Iuav di Venezia; **Università degli Studi di Padova


Abstract Renewable energies have been one of the main driving forces of European landscape change in the last ten years. Despite its acknowledged contribution to sustainable development, “renewable” is not ipso facto “sustainable”: on the contrary renewable energies can have negative impacts and create both environmental and societal conflicts. Landscape is often at the heart of these conflicts, both as an object to protect and as a tool to debate on. This situation drives us to reflect in terms of “landscapes of energy”. This paper investigates the relationships between energy production and the territory, using landscape as a tool for a critical reading of past and current hydropower exploitation in the Piave river basin, in the Italian Eastern Alps. Regional policies and local practices related with the development of small hydropower exploitation are analysed under the point of view of strategies, values and meanings expressed by different actors. The analysis reveals weaknesses of the policies and the practices risking to miss the objective to integrate energy with landscape.

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