Over 20 representatives from non-governmental organisations met together with HYDROPOWER EUROPE to address the environmental and socio-economic challenges that European countries are facing at an online roundtable.
On the 19th of January 2021, the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum organised a roundtable for the European NGOs aiming at exchanging experience about hydropower from their respective countries in order to collect useful inputs for the Research and Innovation Agenda and the Strategic Industry Roadmap documents drafted within the project.
Listening to all stakeholders of European hydropower is an essential prerogative of HYDROPOWER EUROPE. In the aftermath of the European Green Deal, the project consortium sees the need of balancing views of all players including NGOs to ensure that hydropower can be used to its full potential while ensuring sustainability and low impact to the communities and ecosystems.
The roundtable sessions of Hydropower
Session 1 – Geographical regions
NGO Pishtaret (Kosovo) – EcoZone (Kosovo) – Coalition Clean Baltic and Polish Academy of Science (Poland and Baltic countries)
Session 2 – Ecosystems
Defense des Milieux Aquatiques (France) – Federazione Nazionale Pro Natura (Italy)
Session 3 – Fauna and Biodiversity
Revivo (Slovenia) – Societas Europaea Herpetologica (EU reach) – NABU (EU reach)
Session 4 – Geographical regions
CIPRA International (Alpine countries) – Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (Kosovo) – Sustainability Leadership Kosovo (Kosovo) – Balkan Green Foundation (Western Balkans)
Session 5 – Fauna and Biodiversity
Fisheries Association of the Alps (Alpine countries) – Fishing Association of Slovenia (Slovenia) – Friends of the Earth (Germany)
Session 6 – Environment and Society
Moderated by Diana Prsancova, Zabala Innovation Consulting
EcoKos Women (Kosovo) – EKOEnergy ecolabel (EU reach) – Arnika (Czech Republic)
R&I priorities for hydropower
After each thematic session, participants had the chance to discuss the contents exposed, ask questions and deepen certain topics of interest. The outcomes of presentations and discussions will be processed by the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Consortium.
NGOs recommended that the existing hydropower facilities are modernized and their capacity and energy generation expanded while minimizing ecological impacts. The efficiency of existing hydropower projects shall be improved. New water infrastructure should be assessed on relative risks and trade-offs for including alternative energy options and options for increasing energy efficiency.
The representatives from the NGOs suggested that a healthy and thriving river is not possible without a plan to include climate mitigation and adaptation measures that build long-term resilience to climate change in its freshwater ecosystems. Hydropower plants should be developed in suitable locations, outside national parks and reserves and where environmental impact is minimal. There is an importance for fully functional fish migration structures associated with all hydropower plants.
ZABALA’s role in HYDROPOWER EUROPE
Zabala is leading Communication, Dissemination and Outreach of the project.