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JOINT LETTER: Renewables displace fossil fuels - the Innovation Fund must recorgnise this

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Joint letter signed by: Bioenergy Europe, the European Heat Pump Assocition (EHPA), the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF), the European Solar manufacturing Council (ESMC), the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association (ESTELA), Solar Heat Europe (ESTIF), Solar Power Europe, the Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres (EUREC), Wind Europe and the ETIP Hydropower Europe.

"Renewables displace fossil fuels. And in doing so, they make a critical contribution to decarbonisation. We
therefore welcome your efforts to rebalance the Innovation Fund to better include renewable energy"

Read it complete HERE


ETIP HYDROPOWER EUROPE: The permanent and common voice of Hydropower in Europe

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ETIP Hydropower Europe (ETIP Hydropower) is a new project in the EU programme Horizon Europe under the call HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-02-15: Support to the activities of the ETIPs and technology areas of the SET Plan. The goal is to enhance the cooperation among diverse stakeholders from industry, academia, civil society or associations around the hydropower sector, to provide an adequate advice to the development needs and the alignment with the climate and energy policies of the European Union. The project will have a budget of just less than one million euros and will be developed over three years, with the objective of working towards the consolidation of the network beyond this timeframe. 

Definition and need for an ETIP Hydropower

A European Technology and innovation Platform (ETIP) is an EU Coordination and Support Action (CSA) created in 2015 by the European Union in order to contribute to the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) and its roadmap. It seeks to bring together similar initiatives and fora that would allow the cooperation and joint implementation of activities.

The ambitious energy transition targets in Europe require a series of changes towards the adoption of cleaner and low-carbon energy generation. In 2020, according to EUROSTAT, hydropower accounted for one third of the total electricity generated from renewable sources, however, only two thirds of the current feasible potential have been exploited so far. 

This strong development potential, combined with the ability to align supply with demand due to its low variability and unmatched flexibility, makes hydropower a good ally to become a catalyst for energy transition. Still, hydropower faces several environmental, societal, technological, and commercial challenges that demand new approaches. A permanent and common voice of all hydropower stakeholders is needed to support research and innovation actions, as well as increasing public awareness.

Background: HYDROPOWER EUROPE project

HYDROPOWER EUROPE Project was created under the European Union call: “H2020-LC-SC3-2018-2019-2020 (BUILDING A LOW-CARBON, CLIMATE RESILIENT FUTURE: SECURE, CLEAN AND EFFICIENT ENERGY)” and has been running from November 2018 to February 2022. 

Despite the difficulties from COVID19, the project gathered more than 600 stakeholders from the hydropower sector who participated in several consultation processes in the 40 months that the project lasted. The aim was to create a common agreement, reviewing and developing the needs for hydropower in the future. 

After this extensive consultation, the Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) and the Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR) were developed. The final reports (~140 pages each) present 18 research themes with 80 topics (RIA) and 11 strategic directions which include 40 detailed actions (SIR), that tackle a wide range of areas, from social acceptance and communication, to environmental strategies and regulations.

The new ETIP Hydropower

The new ETIP Hydropower will be led again by the International Commission of Large Dams (ICOLD) and due to the positive feedback, the rest of the partners will remain the same: SAMUI Research and Consultancy, the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE), the Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centers (EUREC), VGB Powertech, ZABALA Innovation Europe, the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF) and the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

Hydropower Europe project ended with the establishment of a number of strategic actions and research topics after the consultation with an expert panel. For this reason, the consortium, is well suited to integrate these into the SET Plan roadmap and continue consolidating the network of +600 representatives into a sustainable association, which will be interweaved with other renewable energy sector initiatives, with the common objective of supporting the European energy transition.

 The structure for implementing ETIP HYDROPOWER is shown below. Five Working Packages (WP) are proposed alongside with an Advisory Board and the Working Groups (WG).

      • WP1 Coordination: support of the overall ETIP HYDROPOWER project, ensuring its transformation into a sustainable association beyond project timeline
      • WP2 Supporting priority actions for the SET plan, ETIP interaction and collaboration: support the structure of the ETIP governance, implementation of the ETIP processes, interaction with the SET plan and set up and maintain a strategy for cooperation with other ETIPs.
      • WP3 Supporting priority actions for the HPE Forum, RIA and SIR: support the orientation of the industry WGs, the creation and implementation of the detailed mapping of R&I actions.
      • WP4 Strategic actions: support the communication activities that aim to increase awareness and promotion of best practices of the industry
      • WP5 HPE forum sustainability & support services: support across the whole ETIP
      • Advisory Board: produces a mechanism o draw further expertise in the hydropower sector and to help ensure that the ETIP builds from knowledge in the sector
      • ETIP HYDROPOWER WGs: these will be created to address the issues across a variety of topics.

To summarise, ETIP HYDROPOWER aims to promote the role of hydropower as a catalyst in the energy transition of Europe. This requires an objective approach across all aspects of energy sources and finding the optimal pathway. Addressing different aspects of hydropower (i.e., the counterbalancing benefits, the impacts of different forms of hydropower and the solutions to avoid disruptions on biodiversity) is at the core of this ETIP. The successful integration of hydropower into the SET Plan and the European clean energy transition process will have a major impact on this transition and on further research to find solutions to those setbacks.

Prof. Anton Schleiss at the 7th IAHR Europe Congress (Greece)

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Prof. Anton Schleiss, from the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD - CIGB), was invited as a keynote speaker for the opening session og the 7th IAHR Europe Congress in Greece. This year's congress was dedicated to the "Innovative Water Management in a changing climate", which provided a platform for professionals, researchers, scientists and engineers in the sector of hydro, to exchange best practices to face the climate and environmental challenges that societies are facing in the last years. This allows the younger generations learn from traditional ways and show innovative solutions in matters related to climate change, specially in those aspects linked to water management and hydraulic research and its applications.

Dr. Schleiss opened the session on the 7 September 2022 with the presentation "Research and Innovation Agenda for hydropower as a catalyst for the energy transition in Europe". The participants agreed that hydropower in Europe could be enhanced at least by 20% in order to contribute to a safe and independent electricity supply in Europe strongly contributing as a catalyst to the urgent energy transition. The focus of the talk was to present the research opportunities for the hydro-environment research and engineering community based on the RIA.


Prof. Anton Schleiss during his keynote presentation at the 7th IAHR Europe Congress (Greece)


Hydro Power Industry Guide 2021/22 by VGBE

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After the success from "Hydro Power Industry guide 2020/21", our colleagues from VGBe wanted to offer us the new guide from this year: “Hydropower Industry Guide 2021/22”.

vgbe´s “Hydropower Industry Guide 2021/22” gives a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the latest products and services offered by the hydropower sector. It includes an easy-to-use directory of companies providing key products and services for the global hydropower market.It contains: 

    • Hydropower Sector Information
    • Expert Contributions
    • Company Profiles
    • Media Partner Profiles
    • vgbe energy Range of Services

POSITION PAPER: Hydropower as a catalyst and facilitator for the clean, safe and independent energy transition in Europe.

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Key Messages:

  • Given Europe’s ambition to raise the renewables target to 45%1 hydropower is critical to ensure Europe’s energy system has the necessary renewable electricity and flexibility to protect grid stability from intermittent renewable energy, to sustain the green transition.
  • While hydropower is the largest renewable non-intermittent electricity supplier in the World and in Europe, there remains significant potential, mainly through refurbishments,  new multipurpose storage projects and pumped-storage powerplants.
  • More funding is needed in research and innovation to deploy solutions at the scale required in support of sustainable solutions that offer win-win situations for the environment and from an operational perspective. 
  • Europe must protect against periods of dunkelflaute by including flexible power generation and dispatchable large capacity renewable storage, like hydropower, in national targets.
  • To ensure there is enough hydropower to meet Europe’s decarbonization goals and maintain energy security, hydropower must have a prominent role within the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan.
  • The upcoming ETIP will serve as the basis for collaboration between stakeholders on hydropower and increase their visibility within the SET Plan

Read the complete position paper HERE.

Prof. Anton Schleiss: "If the reservoirs weren't there, we would already be in a blackout everywhere"

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HYDROPOWER EUROPE colleague Anton Schleiss recently gave an interview for S&P Global Market Intelligence about the importance of hydropower in the current drought crisis that is affecting, with special virulence, the southern countries of Europe. 

The article tackles the complicated situation of the hydro operators in the Iberian peninsula, Italy and France, where the production plants' production declined sharply due to the low rainfall. In this setting, hydro operators are forced to buy energy at very high prices to replace the missing water volume.

According to experts, "Fluctuations in hydro generation are nothing new, but the frequency of extreme conditions is increasing as a result of climate change".

Read the complete article HERE.

Patrick Federi in Unsplash 





The 2022 ICOLD Congress in Marseille

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The Congress of the International Commission on Large Dams" was held in Marseille (France) from Monday 30 May to Friday 3 June 2022 with over 1400 participants. 


ICOLD includes 104 members countries and 28 Technical Committees working on current technical issues related to water resource development and management.


The presence of more than 200 young engineers and more than 200 exhibitors shows the enthusiasm of the profession after two years of restrictions caused by COVID19.



In this congress four questions were discussed. Among these, Question 107 was dedicated to Dams and Climate Change Interesting papers explore impacts of climatic change on existing dams and reservoirs and remedies or on needs of dams and reservoirs and levees (water storage, floods mitigation, oceans raising). Other papers explain the favourable impacts of dams on the climatic change. The evaluation of greenhouse gases emissions by reservoirs and dams construction was also addressed.


Another interesting question, Q106, was devoted to "Surveillance, Instrumentation, Monitoring and Data Acquisition and Processing”. New technologies in instrumentation and monitoring were introduced. Data acquisition and large data processing to evaluate the behavior of dams were highlighted: case studies and new methods including artificial intelligence were discussed.


Anton Schleiss presented the outcomes of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE and its two main deliverables: the Research and Innovation Agenda and the Strategic Industry Roadmap.

Prof. Anton Schleiss presenting the outcomes of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE project during the General Assembly of ICOLD

7 technical visits and two post-congress tours enabled the visit of hydroelectric plants operated by EDF and CNR in France, ENEL, CVA and Edison in Italy.

The visit of Place Moulin dam operated by CVA (Italy) during post-congress tour


The CFBR symposium

A symposium was organised just before the congress on a subject of interest to the future of the profession: « Sharing water: multi-purpose of reservoirs and innovations ». It was split on four themes:

·       Theme 1: Territorial and water multi-purpose issues 

·       Theme 2: Governance and funding 

·       Theme 3: Innovative solutions in reservoirs uses 

·       Theme 4: Operating multipurpose facilities 

A round table exploring the future needs of reservoirs closed this symposium: “dams and reservoirs: the challenges for tomorrow”. A good introduction was presented by Thierry Caquet (INRAE, symposium SHARING WATER Marseille 2022). He mentioned that today 1.9 bil. people live in potential severely water scarce areas and by 2050 with increasing climate change impacts around 4 billions of people will live under water stress (Burek et al., 2016). 

We invite you to visit the website of the French Committee on Dams and Reservoirs, if you want to have access to the papers and presentations through the link: Marseille_symposium (

Dams and art

Finally, Patrick le Delliou from the French Committee CFBR invites you to see a movie illustrating how dams can be integrated in our culture with the use of dam cladding as a support for artistic work (painted frescoes, projection...). The link below allows you to see and download this movie in HD format (513 MB).

Marseille_vidéo (

NEW PUBLICATION, Hydroscience Journal: "Hydropower, a catalyst for energy transition in Europe"

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On the context of HydroES 2021 (22 September 2021), Hydropower Europe had the chance to present its vision and results achieved during three years of consultations. Some of the conclusions are:

  1. Hydropower still has a great potential for development
  2. Hydropower sector needs strategic actions and recommendations for policymakers, but also needs to improve the communication across the stakeholder chain.
  3. Hydropower industry needs a unique and common voice at European level.

Read the complete paper clicking HERE.

HYDRO 2022 Strasbourg: How to promote future hydro development in Europe with a sustainable impact?

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The HYDROPOWER EUROPE project (2018-2022), funded from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, has released its final deliverables: a Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) and a Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR) for the hydropower sector. The challenge is to have a permanent voice through a forum gathering all hydropower stakeholders in order that the EU can use the RIA and SIR recommendations in making decisions supporting hydropower contributions to the clean energy transition. The purpose of this special session was to discuss the question of how the future development of hydropower in Europe can be promoted in a sustainable way.

« Is hydropower supported by enough funding for Research and Innovation and with regulation that can allow enough flexibility and storage in Europe by 2050? » asked J-J Fry, chairing this session with Mark Morris on behalf of HYDROPOWER EUROPE.

Prof. Anton Schleiss, on behalf of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE coordination team, firstly identified that only 65% of the economically feasible hydropower potential is currently tapped in Europe but this could be increased by at least 10% through technical and environmental upgrading in the next 10 years. To help implement this increase in generation, the RIA, recently released by the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum ( which Prof Schleiss coordinated, listed recommended funding for the most pertinent research themes needed to address 5 crucial challenges:



To identify these priorities, the HYDROPOWER EUROPE project also used a global system analysis of hydropower in Europe which identified two critical levers to help effect change, namely:  reservoir volume and public awareness of hydropower.

A Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR) was the second key deliverable of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum which pointed out three key directions to help remove non-technical barriers to promote hydropower development:

  1.  Providing economic and legal support for effective hydropower contribution to flexibility and storage within the new electricity system in the Net Zero Economy.
  2. Raising public awareness, increasing societal resilience and local employment.
  3.  Preserving biodiversity and improving river ecosystems.

Maryse François contributed with Jean-Jacques Fry to promote and rate the key Parameter Indicators of hydropower under the umbrella of the European Technology Innovation Platform (ETIP) Smart Networks for Energy Transition (SNET). She demonstrated that hydropower can provide the largest range of services (compared to other technologies) to the new electric system. Moreover, she emphasized that hydropower provides the best return on energy, with amongst the lowest carbon release, material consumption and lowest price. Moreover, hydropower is a territory and water asset (revenues, irrigation, water supply, flood control, navigation, recreational area etc.) and a service provider for the grid. On the other hand, it is a long term solution requiring innovation to shorten this duration. But the future huge need for storage, which in 2018 hydropower provided 94% of, requires more pumped storage (PSH), for which the CAPEX over 80 years is the most competitive (Pumped Storage Hydropower Capabilities and Costs Capabilities, Costs & Innovation Working Group IHA September 2021). From an environmental view point, PSH requires far less surface area than the equivalent land space that would be needed for batteries holding a similar capacity. With such qualities why is PSH not developed in Europe as in China: today more than 30 GW installed (25% of the world capacity), 62 GW announced by 2025 and 120 GW by 2030?

Mark Morris, explained how the future development of hydropower in Europe could be promoted in a sustainable way. The HYDROPOWER EUROPE consortium has just been awarded funding under the recent Horizon Europe Call CL5-2021-D3-02-15 to build a European Technology Innovation Platform (ETIP) on HYDROPOWER which will be funded by the EC for three years. This will commence in Autumn 2022. The ETIP HYDROPOWER will allow:

  1. Direct representation & participation of hydropower within the SET Plan, giving a unified voice to the European Commission
  2.  Closer integration and development of hydropower with other clean energy sources via collaboration with different ETIPs 
  3. Consultation (2022/23) with industry to define and refine the focus, structure and balance of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum
  4.  A phased introduction of the Forum services (R&I facilitation, unified representation etc.)
  5. Implementation of a financially sustainable European Hydropower Forum in 2025.

He introduced key points on how research initiatives with high industrial interest within the European context could be coordinated and supported through: 

  1. No duplication of existing associations 
  2. Defining clear goals and objectives showing how industry can be engaged
  3. Demonstrating clear value for money
  4. Providing a realistic and viable pathway and schedule for implementation 

To demonstrate clear value for money, he proposed 3 types of services facilitating research for industry and supporting easier more cost effective access to R&D funding. These comprised:

  1. Participation in a small projects programme 
  2.  Facilitating collaborative R&I actions between industry partners
  3. Tracking and flagging National, European & International research funding opportunities

In conclusion, the ETIP HYDROPOWER is a unique opportunity to provide a unified voice to Europe, promote hydropower development and to facilitate technical and environmental research for the industry sector.  The ETIP offers a stepping stone towards creating a sustainable HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum through which these goals may be achieved.

Anton Schleiss and Jean-Jacques Fry during Hydropower Europe's Session at Hydro 2022 in Strasbourg

Webinar 28 february 2022: What Research and Innovation are Needed to Tap More Hidden Hydro Opportunities in the Future?

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The IEA Technology Cooperation Programme (TCP) on Hydropower (also known as IEA Hydro) is a working group of the International Energy Agency's member countries and others that have a common interest in advancing hydropower worldwide. Under the work programme Annex XVI “Hidden Hydro” is addressed by four subtasks namely: 1) Updating Sustainable Hydropower Inventories; 2) Improving Performance from Existing Hydropower; 3) Adding Power to “Non-power Dams” and Water Management Facilities and 4) Hydropower Technology Research and Innovation in the context of “Hidden” Hydropower opportunities.

In the framework of subtask 4 and in collaboration with the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum an online kick-off workshop “What research and innovation are needed to tap more hidden hydro opportunities in future?” was organized. The more than 50 participants connected online discussed the potential innovative research and development initiatives in the field of “Hidden and Untapped Hydropower Opportunities in Existing Infrastructures” with the purpose to contribute to the development of a future oriented research and innovation agenda. The latter should formulate needs  for further technology development to maximize the future use of the potential of sustainable hidden hydropower.

After welcome and a brief introduction of TCP Hydropower by Alex Beckitt, Chair of IEA Hydropower TCP, Hydro Tasmania, AU and Klaus Jorde, Executive Committee Secretary, IEA Hydropower TCP, a short presentation of Annex XVI was given by Cécile Münch-Alligné, professor at HEVS (CH) followed by short overviews of Subtask 1 ”Updating Sustainable Hydropower Inventories” by Vincent Denis, Mhylab (CH), Subtask 2 “Improving Performance from Existing Hydropower” by Yoichi Miyanaga, CRIEPI (JP) and Subtask 3 “Adding Power to Non-power Dams and Water Management Facilities” by Carly Hansen, ORNL (USA). 

Then Thomas Schleker from European Commission introduced the goal of the workshop focusing on “Hydropower Technology Research and Innovation for Hidden Hydropower opportunities”. Anton Schleiss, Coordinator of Hydropower Europe, ICOLD-EPFL, gave an overview of the “Research and Innovation Agenda for Hydropower Development in Europe with focus on Hidden Hydro” as developed by the Hydropower Europe Forum.  Nathalie Voisin, PNNL (USA) highlighted the “US Perspectives on Needed Technology Research and Innovation” followed by a presentation on “R&Is found in good practices by Task 2” in Japan. Finally, Emanuele Quaranta, European Commission Joint Research Centre, gave a talk on “Hidden hydropower potential in EU: micro hydro technologies and hydro fleet modernization”

Jean-Jacques Fry and Mark Morris, from Hydropower Europe then presented a questionnaire with general questions on hidden hydro as well as questions regarding a future questionnaire. The participants had the opportunity to give a direct feedback on the questions by a poll and you can download the results here.

The online workshop was closed with roundtable involving all speakers and chairs and discussing the question how a future oriented research and Innovation agenda can be developed for Hidden Hydro.


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