Vision of the Forum

Vision of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum


The ambitious plan for energy transition in Europe seeks to achieve a low-carbon climate-resilient future in a safe and cost-effective way serving as a worldwide example. The key role of electricity will be strongly reinforced in this energy transition. In many European countries, the phase out of nuclear and coal generation has started with a transition to new renewable sources comprising mainly solar and wind for electricity generation. However, solar and wind are variable energy sources and difficult to align with demand. Hydropower already supports integration of wind and solar energy into the supply grid through flexibility in generation as well as its potential for storage capacity. These services will be in much greater demand in order to achieve the energy transition in Europe, and worldwide. Hydropower has all the characteristics to serve as an excellent catalyst for a successful energy transition.

With about 60 to 70% of the economically feasible hydropower potential used so far within Europe, there is still an untapped potential, which allows hydropower to perform this role. However, this will require a more flexible, efficient, environmentally and socially acceptable approach to increasing hydropower production to complement wind and solar energy production.  In particular:

  1. Increasing hydropower production through the implementation of new environmental friendly, multipurpose hydropower schemes and by using hidden potential in existing infrastructures.
  2. Increasing the flexibility of generation from existing hydropower plants by adaptation and optimization of infrastructure and equipment combined with innovative solutions for the mitigation of environmental impacts.
  3. Increasing storage by the heightening of existing dams and the construction of new reservoirs, which have to ensure not only flexible energy supply, but which also support food and water supply and thus contribute to the Water-Energy-Food NEXUS and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
  4. Strengthening the contribution of flexibility from pumped-storage power plants by developing and building innovative arrangements in combination with existing water infrastructure.

Through an extensive programme of review and consultation addressing the whole hydropower sector and stakeholders (including construction, production, environmental and social issues), the Hydropower Europe Forum will provide a focal point for reviewing and developing hydropower in Europe, and subsequently European hydropower in the wider world.  Building from the extensive programme of consultation, the Hydropower Europe Forum will develop a strategic research and innovation agenda as well as a roadmap towards implementation of the vision.



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