Hydropower, as the still largest renewable energy resource, has a long tradition in Europe and contributed significantly during the last century to industrial development and welfare in most of the countries in Europe. Today, almost 600TWh of electricity are generated in an average hydrological year, which equates to about 60% of the economically feasible hydropower potential within Europe. The ambitious plan for an energy transition in Europe now seeks to achieve a low-carbon climate resilient future in a safe and costeffective way, serving as an example worldwide. The key role of electricity will be strongly reinforced in this energy transition. In many European countries, the phase out of nuclear and coal generation has started with a transition to new renewable sources comprising mainly of solar and wind for electricity generation. However, solar and wind are variable energy sources and difficult to align with demand. Hydropower already supports integration of wind and solar energy into the supply grid through flexibility in generation as well as through its potential for storage capacity. In the future, these services will be in much greater demand to achieve the energy transition in Europe, and worldwide. Hydropower has all the characteristics to serve as an excellent catalyst for a successful energy transition.
The HYDROPOWER-EUROPE Forum is built on the ambition to achieve a Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) and a Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR) 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.
Through an extensive program of review and consultation addressing the whole hydropower sector and stakeholders (including construction, production, environmental and social issues), the Hydropower Europe Forum provides a focal point for reviewing and developing hydropower in Europe, and subsequently European hydropower in the wider world. Building from this extensive programme of consultation, the Hydropower Europe Forum has developed a strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) as well as a Strategic Industry Roadmap
(SIR), towards implementation of the vision "Hydropower as a catalyst for the successful energy transition in Europe".
A Consultation Platform was created to help manage the Hydropower Europe consultation process (https://hydropower-europe.eu) where more than 600 stakeholders and experts have registered and are involved in the consultation process, which may be considered a success. Besides organization of several consultation events and workshops, a successful workshop on environmental and social aspects was held in October 2020 and a round table with NGOs in January 2021; as well as a Partner Event at the EU Green Week in June 2021 under the theme of Zero Pollution; these are more recent examples of increased consultation with civil society.
The final versions of the RIA and SIR will be available online in Autumn 2021. Eighteen research themes comprising some 80 topics were identified (RIA) as well as 11 strategic directions including some 40 detailed actions (SIR) ranging from regulation framework to social acceptance and innovative environmental strategies. During several workshops with the Consultation Expert Panel (CEP), prioritization of these strategic actions, research themes and topics were established. For the latter, suggested programme time lines as well as indicative magnitude of funding and the expected TRL of the research outcomes were defined.
The HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum is supported by a project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 826010.
Project partners are: International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE), European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF), Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres (EUREC), International Hydro-power Association (IHA), Samui France SARL (SAMUI), VGB PowerTech e.V. (VGB) and ZABALA Brussels SPRL (ZABALA).