On 12th and 13th October 2020, HYDROPOWER EUROPE organized a unique two-day online workshop under the name “Hydropower seeking its role in the clean energy transition – Answering technical, environmental and social challenges for hydropower as a catalyst for the clean energy transition in Europe” gathering over 160 attendees to define the future of hydropower in Europe.
As one of the last opportunities for hydropower stakeholders to engage in the HYDROPOWER EUROPE consultation process before its closure, more than 160 attendees gathered over the course of a two-day interactive online workshop to share their views on policy and regulatory issues, technical challenges, and environmental and social issues. The #HPEOnlineWorskhop thus enabled transparent public debate on the future of hydropower and positioned hydropower as a catalyst for the clean energy transition in Europe.
At the beginning of Day 1, the Policy Officers from DG ENER and DG ENV introduced policy and regulatory issues helping to decarbonise Europe. This will serve to design a supportive EU framework for the hydropower sector. Next, technical challenges and R&I priorities were addressed to help in developing innovative concepts and technologies to boost hydropower potential. The collaboration among the stakeholders and public acceptance is the key for hydropower’s future in Europe.
The introduction was followed by four separate parallel groups where the experts shared their views on market structure and regulatory mechanisms to support hydropower development in Europe. The second group focused on improving the European funding offer for hydropower R&I. In the third group, the attendees posed a question whether hydropower is a key flexibility asset of the future European energy system. The attendees in the last group discussed performance and resilience of infrastructures.
Day 2 kicked off with civil society organisations such as the WWF and the Global Water Programme addressing the impacts of hydropower on the environment. Best practices and solutions to make hydropower energy more environmentally-friendly such as bottom-up small hydropower projects in the Netherlands, eco run-off-river hydropower, and system-scale planning: Low-carbon, low-cost, low-conflict development of renewables were presented. Throughout the workshop, the importance of the social acceptance of hydropower was underlined in order to minimalise the gap between industry and civil society.
The hydropower stakeholders actively participated in the four parallel groups. The best practices and solutions to increase public acceptance of hydropower were discussed in the first parallel group. In the second parallel group, environmental-compatible solutions and benefits of hydropower projects were addressed. The topic of the third and fourth parallel group focused on the environmental impacts on rivers’ flow and on biodiversity of hydropower.
HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum has been working on a consultation process through online consultations as well as regional and technical workshops. As a result, feedback from diverse stakeholders including hydropower expert groups, industry actors, energy providers, civil society, environmental organisations and other interested parties is being collected to help in shaping R&I priorities for hydropower.
The outcomes of the workshop will contribute to finalizing recommendations for the future direction and role of hydropower in Europe. There is still time to provide feedback on the role of hydropower in the clean energy transition by participating in the 2nd Stakeholder Online Consultation. The consultation process will close at the end of October 2020.
About HYDROPOWER EUROPE
The HYDROPOWER EUROPE (HPE) project is built on the ambition to achieve a Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) and a Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR) for the hydropower sector, based on the synthesis of technical for a and transparent public debates through a forum that gathers all relevant stakeholders of the hydropower sector. Through a detailed consultation process (expert workshops, online consultations, regional workshops), HYDROPOWER EUROPE already collected views and inputs from a wide range of stakeholders.