Hydropower is one of the largest sources of renewable electricity in the EU. In 2018 it accounted for more than 36% of all renewable electricity generation. Hydropower makes all other renewable energy possible: it provides a reliable base- and peak load, flexible generation and storage on scale that compensates for solar and wind power, which are not adjustable. According to DG Energy, the need for more storage and flexibility has increased within the European power system.
Hydropower contributes to all three key policy objectives: it is safe, competitive and clean.
Even taking into account the projected increase in electrification, hydropower will continue to become increasingly important in the coming years.
On 20 November 2020, Finnish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nils Torvalds of the Renew Europe Group filed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. MEP Torvalds asked the Commission “how is it planning to take into account the important role of hydropower in its forthcoming energy initiatives?” and “how does it assess how important domestically generated hydropower is with a view to reducing the EU’s dependence on energy imports?”
In ending, MEP Torvalds enquired “how will the Commission ensure that a technology-neutral approach to all renewable energy sources is incorporated into its forthcoming energy policy initiatives?”
On 19 December, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson responded on behalf of the European Commission. In her answer she asserted that “hydropower is a renewable energy source, which plays an important role to achieve renewable energy targets and, in some cases, provide flexibility to the operation of the energy system” and “according to the impact assessment of the 2030 Climate Target Plan, hydropower will grow in absolute terms from 29 Mtoe today to 32 Mtoe in 2030”.
Commissioner Simson stated that “the Energy System Integration strategy lays the foundation to build an integrated energy system fit for climate neutrality, building on a power system largely based on renewables”.
She further added that “the review of the Renewable Energy Directive will look at the existing renewable energy framework to make sure it contributes cost-effectively to the increased climate ambition for 2030 within the ‘Fit for 55 Package’” and “hydropower, as a renewable energy source, is part of this work”.
Commissioner Simson clarified that “according to Eurostat, efficiency measures and domestic renewable production have reduced the dependence on energy imports significantly in a number of Member States” and “representing the largest share of renewable electricity production, hydropower contributes significantly to the domestic electricity generation, meeting a demand that would otherwise potentially be satisfied by imports”.
She expressed that “given the high increase in renewable energy production required to meet the EU’s ambitious renewable energy and climate targets, the Commission will continue to work towards a framework that allows all sustainable forms of renewable energy, including hydropower, to develop in the EU”.
Lastly, Commissioner Simson declared that “part of this framework is the Renewable Energy Directive which does not privilege any renewable energy source over another and the electricity market design which should reward flexibility as provided also by many hydropower plants”.
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/hydropower-hydroelectricity-4509706/