How can environmental improvement be achieved at hydropower schemes? Which strategic planning tools are appropriate for hydropower development? How can we balance hydropower development and the protection of the water environment? These were among the key questions addressed at the 2nd Common Implementation Strategy workshop on Water Management, Water Framework Directive and Hydropower, which took place in Brussels on 13-14 September 2011. The issue paper and presentations are available online.
The workshop created a platform for discussion and a dynamic exchange of information between the 110 participants, which included representatives from the European States, the European Commission, relevant European-level organisations and stakeholder groups. The participants discussed in detail the following aspects:
- Options and tools in order to implement measures for the improvement and achievement of good ecological status or potential (legal and technical requirements and incentives)
- Strategic planning tools for hydropower development
- Approaches for implementing Article 4.7 of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).
Fritz Holzwarth, the German Water Director opened the workshop with a plenary speech and Peter Gammeltoft, Head of Unit for Water at DG Environment (European Commission) embedded the topic of the conference in its policy framework. Oyvind Vessia from DG Energy highlighted the role of hydropower for the Renewable Energies Policy and Ursula Schmedtje from DG Environment drew attention to the environmental impacts and influence of environmental legislation, specifically the WFD, on hydropower generation. Eleftheria Kampa (Ecologic Institute) presented the summary of European State questionnaires on hydropower and the WFD, and stakeholder views were given by EURELECTRIC, ESHA and the WWF. The main parts of the workshop discussions took place in 3 parallel working groups, which allowed participants to exchange their experiences and opinions. The results of the working groups were brought together at the end of the workshop in a session chaired by the German Water Director, Fritz Holzwarth. A concluding summary on best practices and recommendations was presented by members of the workshop organising committee from the UK, Norway and Austria.
The presentations held at the workshop are available online.
Some of the main workshop conclusions and recommendations are:
- Successful implementation of all relevant Directives (WFD, Renewable Energy Directive, Habitats and Birds Directives) requires properly integrating energy and water policy.
- The potential cumulative total reductions in existing hydroelectricity generation due to WFD implementation so far foreseen by the few countries which have undertaken these analysis and the European Commission are very similar at around 1,5% to 5%.
- Strategic planning mechanisms can help streamline the authorisation process on proposed new hydropower developments and improve transparency and predictability for hydropower developers.
- The WFD Article 4.7 exemption tests are a legal requirement for new modifications and their proper application reflects good practice environmental decision-making.
The final workshop conclusions and recommendations have been integrated into the Issue Paper [pdf, 1.72 MB, English] of the workshop, which is a comprehensive document containing background information as well as the summary of a questionnaire on hydropower and the WFD filled-in by 24 European States.
Germany, the UK and the European Commission have jointly organised the workshop, together with a Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) organising committee. The Ecologic Institute has been commissioned as consultant to support the co-organisers in the conceptual preparation and organisation of the workshop. The event was held with the kind support of the German Federal State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, which hosted the workshop at its Representation to the European Union in Brussels.