Strategic Industry Roadmap and Research & Innovation Agenda

Strategic Industry Roadmap and Research & Innovation Agenda

The Energy Union Strategy proposes a fundamental transformation of Europe's energy system with the ambition to achieve a low-carbon climate-resilient future in a cost-effective way. One of the best energy contributors towards a low-carbon climate-resilient future is hydropower. Hydropower is a very flexible energy supply which can also be used to store and supply electricity generated by other sources, so providing an essential link for aiding the integration of different renewable supplies within the grid.

Europe has the ambition to be the world number one in renewable energy. To fulfil this objective, it must lead the development of the next generation of hydropower technologies, and to integrate its high storage and flexibility capacities into the current energy system, efficiently and cost-effectively.  The Integrated Strategic Energy Technology (SET) plan draws up the framework for moving to more sustainable, secure and competitive energy sources; a comprehensive roadmap is now needed for the sustainable use of existing hydropower and the development of the untapped hydropower potential under environmental and socio-economical constraints.

Europe is the cradle of hydropower. Hydropower in Europe is facing a great number of challenges and to face this unique set of policy, environmental, societal, technological and market challenges, the hydropower sector needs to become more cost competitive and find novel approaches to future development in accordance with evolving environmental and social demand.

Hence, the HYDROPOWER EUROPE initiative is built on the ambition to achieve a research and innovation agenda and a strategic industry roadmap 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.  This wide ranging consultation process will be initiated through the HYDROPOWER EUROPE consultation platform, integrating feedback from online consultation, workshops and expert working groups.

The Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) will:

The goal of the R&IA is to provide recommendations on the R&I priorities for hydro to the EU institutions and national authorities, in order to contribute shaping public spending for R&I. The document will also provide a useful reference to the entire hydropower community.

Starting from the current status of hydro technologies, the R&IA will identify the main challenges for further hydro development and the related R&I gaps. As a result, R&I needs for hydro are listed and clarified, specifying the type of challenge, expected results, R&I activities needed, the relevant stakeholders, and indicative timeframe and an assessment of the needed funding (in terms of type and amount).

The R&IA is not limited only to technological issues, such as equipment and infrastructure improvement and extension or advanced operation managing systems. It will include also environmental, social and economic issues in view of sustainable development, in order to understand how community and wider public reacts to hydro projects and how social acceptance can be enhanced. However, the R&IA will look at these issues exclusively through a research and development perspective.

R&I need will also be prioritised according to criteria to be defined with the support of the Consultation Expert Panel (e.g. consistency with EU policy objectives, maturity of the technology, expected benefits, etc.).

The Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR) will discuss the non-technical barriers to hydro deployment

The goal of the SIR is to understand why communities, i.e. stakeholder, accept/reject hydropower projects, to promote the best and innovative practices in hydropower development and formulate recommendations (both to public authorities and private stakeholders) on how hydropower can contribute to the successful energy system transition, preserve the environment and increase societal resilience.

The SIR will discuss non-technical barriers to hydro deployment, the main focus being on social acceptance, mitigation of the environmental impact and ensuring finance for hydropower (including pumped storage). Other issues fostering hydropower deployment will be consider, such as innovative business model, standardisation and regulatory issues.

Differences and Complementarities

The SIR and the R&IA are strictly interlinked, since the R&I priorities shall go in the direction envisioned in the SIR. However, the focus and the perspective of the two documents is quite different: the SIR looks broadly at the hydropower sector and at its role in the future energy system (identifying the barriers to be overcome to reach that point and suggesting solutions), while the R&IA focus exclusively on technical improvement including also impact mitigation and is instrumental to the SIR.

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