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Key hydropower sector stakeholders met to shape hydropower’s role in the clean energy transition

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On 12th and 13th October 2020, over 160 hydropower industry, civil society and policy representatives met to answer technical, environmental and social challenges for hydropower as a catalyst for the clean energy transition in Europe at a HYDROPOWER EUROPE online event.


At one of the last opportunities to engage in the HYDROPOWER EUROPE consultation process on a Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) and a Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR) for the hydropower sector, more than 160 stakeholders gathered online to share their views on policy and regulatory issues, technical challenges, and environmental and social issues. The #HPEOnlineWorskhop enabled transparent public debate on the future of hydropower and hydropower’s role as a catalyst for the clean energy transition in Europe.

At the beginning of day one, 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. Collaboration among hydropower sector stakeholders and public support is key for hydropower’s future in Europe.

The introduction was followed by four separate parallel groups.  In the first, 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, 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 the performance and resilience of infrastructures.

Day two 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-of-river hydropower, and system-scale planning for low-carbon, low-cost, low-conflict development of renewables were presented. Throughout the workshop, the importance of industry and civil society working together to ensure social support for hydropower was emphasised.

Again, there were four parallel group discussions on day two. Best practices and solutions to increase public acceptance of hydropower were discussed in the first group. In the second group, environmentally compatible solutions and benefits of hydropower projects were addressed. The topics of the third and fourth groups focused on the environmental impacts on rivers’ flow and on biodiversity of hydropower, respectively.

The recordings and the presentations from the main sessions are accessible once registered for the wider stakeholder consultation at this link.

Next steps

The 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.


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 fora and transparent public debates through a forum that gathers all relevant stakeholders of the hydropower sector.

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