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Workshop on Fish-Friendly Hydropower

HYDROPOWER EUROPE partners participated in FIThydro Stakeholder Workshop on Fish-Friendly Hydropower organised in the context of FIThydro, a 4-year EU-funded H2020 research project (2016-2020). This project addresses the decision support in commissioning and operating hydropower plants by the use of existing and innovative technologies.

The coordinator of FITHydro is Technical University of Munich which is the third party linked to HYDROPOWER EUROPE. Active collaboration between these two opinion-makers fosters projects’ activities and, therefore, contributes to the quality of the results.

The important issues for the development of the Research & Innovation Agenda and Strategic Industry Roadmap in the framework of HYDROPOWER EUROPE are mitigation measures and strategies to develop cost-effective environmental solutions. Furthermore, it is important to come up with strategies to avoid fish damage at hydropower plants and enhance population developments.

These challenges were addressed on 28-29 January 2020, at the event which served as a platform for consultation and exchange between the scientists, policy-makers, and technical experts working on the assessment of environmental impacts from hydropower plants and the planning of mitigation measures. The Policy Brief developed in the framework of the FIThydro project brings an important added value which can be an inspiration and an exchange of good practice for HYDROPOWER EUROPE.

Concretely, the discussed topics were:

Tools to support risk assessment at hydropower plants (e.g. risk classification system for fish species, assessment of cumulative impacts),Risk-based Decision Support System for planning, commissioning and operating hydropower plants,Knowledge sharing on tools for planning, implementing and monitoring mitigation measures,Challenges and opportunities for fish-friendly hydropower related to the current EU policy framework (e.g. Requirements for hydropower projects in relation to Natura 2000 sites),Cost-effective and applicable solutions for key impacts from hydropower plants, especially related to fish mortality at turbines and during downstream migration, at rivers with hydropeaking or/and in residual flow stretches,Selection of cost-effective combinations of mitigation measures,Lessons learned on public acceptance of hydropower and hydropower technologies.

Furthermore, Anton Schleiss contributed to the debate with a presentation entitled ‘Lateral fish shelters in river banks as an innovative measure for hydropeaking mitigation and river restoration’ . It was presented during a discussion regarding the solutions for impacts related to hydropeaking. Such presentations raise awareness about the project and give further recognition of the project in the field.

Additionally, the workshop brought networking opportunities with experts. The HYDROPOWER EUROPE partners had a chance to meet the European Commission’s Policy Officer Thomas Schleker. This workshop was a great occasion to identify the key players in the field and to have discussions with the hydropower stakeholders linked to environmental issues. These stakeholders could be targeted as participants but also as speakers for an upcoming HYDROPOWER EUROPE event which will be held in October 2020 in Brussels, Belgium.

As a next step, HYDROPOWER EUROPE has been invited to join a final event of FIThydro which will be in September 2020 in Munich, Germany.

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