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HYDROPOWER EUROPE Final Event: “The Important Role of Hydropower in Energy Transition”

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The HYDROPOWER EUROPE conference that took place online on the 23rd February 2022 was the final event of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Project – a project that 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 which has been running since November 2018. 

The objective of this event was to present the results of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Project, namely the conclusions drawn from the consultation with sector stakeholders that led to the creation of the Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) and the Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR) (See key publications at https://hydropower-europe.eu and see our dissemination video at:  https://youtu.be/Kwccf0ZESxo )

 Anton Schleiss, Honorary President of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) and Professor Emeritus of EPFL, opened the conference by providing an introduction to the status of hydropower in Europe and suggesting that this source of energy could provide increased  contributions in the coming years, recognising that only two third of the economically feasible potential had been tapped so far. In fact, in the field of energy production, hydroelectricity remains an excellent and safe supply tool to support the energy transition and the fight against global warming. He revealed that in more than half of the countries in Europe, hydropower still provides a significant share (>25%) of electricity generation, which is important for the success of the energy transition in ensuring safe electricity supply. Worldwide, hydropower alone produces three quarters of all renewable electricity.

Ms Hélène Chraye, Head of Unit for the Clean Energy Transition and Deputy Director of Clean Planet at DG R&I, followed the opening with an overview of the “Goals of European Hydropower R&I Funding” and the overall EU strategy to meet the targets set by the European Green Deal.  

The webinar focused next on the main outcomes of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE project.  Anton Schleiss and Jean-Jacques Fry had the task of presenting highlights from our main documents: the RIA and the SIR, which were created after three years of extensive consultation involving more than 600 stakeholders. The final reports (~140 pages each) present 18 research themes with 80 topics (RIA) and 11 strategic directions which include 40 detailed actions (SIR). Two illustrated summary brochures of ~20 pages each have been produced by the forum which give an overview of the high to very high priority outcomes. 

From the European Commission, Thomas Schleker, Policy Officer at DG R&I, and Sébastien Mortier, Research Projects Portfolio Manager at CINEA, shared with the audience some impressions about the work of HYDROPOWER EUROPE. They thanked the team for the good coordination and the excellent outputs. 

Finally, Mark Morris, a team member from SAMUI France, closed the round of presentations. He reminded the audience about the importance of the role of hydropower for the energy transition and thus, the need to have a permanent and common voice in Europe for the hydropower sector to support both research and innovation as well as to increase public awareness by promoting strategic actions. 

As seen during the roundtable discussions which involved some 130 participants online, hydropower in Europe faces a large number of challenges. The outcomes of HYDROPOWER EUROPE details the agenda and roadmap to help meet these environmental, societal, technological and commercial challenges. As Jean-Jacques Fry advised during the final statements: “Communication on hydro as a catalyst for the energy transition is key for the future. It is clear that hydropower has been providing a great service for more than 150 years, but now it is time to speak to civil society and policymakers about its future development potential”.

Anton Schleiss concluded the event by highlighting again that the outcomes of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE forum confirm hydropower as a key partner and catalyst for the clean energy transition not only in Europe, but also worldwide. He thanked all consortium members of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE project, the Consultation Expert Panel as well as the more than 600 stakeholders participating through the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum for the efficient and fruitful collaboration during the 40 month project period. His gratitude for the funding also went to the European Commission represented by the participating officers who gave valuable input during the project.  The Forum was able to gather a large family of experts and stakeholders, and with its continued support, public awareness on the important role of hydropower can be further increased in the future.   

Presentations from the speakers:
  •  Introduction (Anton J. Schleiss, Hydropower Europe) - LINK 
  • Goals of European Hydropower R&I Funding (Hélène Chraye, European Commission) - LINK
  • Key results of the Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) (Anton Schleiss, Hydropower Europe) - LINK
  • key Results of the Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR) (Jean-Jacques FRY, Hydropower Europe) - LINK
  • The future of the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum as a common and permanent voice in Europe (Mark Morris, Hydropower Europe) - LINK

Full recording of the event can be seen below or following the link:

 

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