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ESHA – European Small Hydropower Association Renewable Energy House, Rue du Trône 26, B - 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium Tel: +32.2.546.19.45 Fax: +32.2.546.19.47, e-mail:, I:

SHP and Public Image what is happening? Maria Laguna -TNSHPHIDROENERGIA 2004


What is happening? SHP sector is getting very worried about reactions against the development of Small hydropower hydropower. Despite SHP sector is adapting its technology to reduce environmental impacts through continuous research and improvements. Unfortunately results and applications of these improvements are not broadly disseminated to the public opinion; as a consequence the SHP sector is unfairly accused of some environmental impacts out of its responsibility. HIDROENERGIA 2004


What is happening? Indeed, SHP does not have a good marketing. Not a lot of people know the sector and not to many people talk about it. Or what is even worst if few people talked a bit about a ‘bad’ example of SHP that do not integrate environmental requirements gives the whole sector a ‘bad name’. Because of all these reasons the issue of public acceptance has therefore become a high priority for the SHP industry HIDROENERGIA 2004


And at the same time‌ Despite ESHA’s definition on >10 MW, at a national level the MS have different definitions: France (>12 MW), Italy (>3 MW) or Sweden (>1.5 MW) Sometimes no distinction is made between small and hydropower schemes in statistics, documents and reports. This brings confusion to the public that assumes that the impacts produced by large hydro schemes are the same as the ones produced by small schemes. HIDROENERGIA 2004


TNSHP and public image TNSHP is a project Funded by the European Commission, DG TREN (Transport & Energy). To identify future research and market needs of the SHP sectors within Europe and Candidate Countries in order to overcome Barriers & promote Better Exploitation of the resource as regards: Cost, Environmental integration, Public Acceptance, Technological issues etc‌ This network will help to reach the public in general and improve their image of SHP through the exchange of information and points of view. To contribute very positively in increasing public awareness and acceptance. HIDROENERGIA 2004


Contacts with NGOs TNSHP has started to contact NGOs to know if their official position or statement concerning small hydropower. To cooperate with them and open a dialogue to know exactly what is the problem and to find out ways on how to solve it together. Improving SHP public image through contacts with environmental groups, fishermen federations and other public opinion makers in order to understand each other and collaborate to find compromises, is one of the objectives of the TNSHP HIDROENERGIA 2004


What do NGOs think? In general, the main European and International NGOs are not opposing to the development of SHP (they only oppose to LHP) but they express their concerns on terms of: (i) Cumulative impacts of SHP (ii) environmental integration and quality standards (iii) local involvement and participation in the process (iv) and meeting local needs. Only one NGO from all organisations contacted -The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SNF) - has expressed its firmly opposition to all types of hydropower without any distinction. HIDROENERGIA 2004


What do NGOs think? - examples !



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What are the possibilities? • To adopt some kind of sustainability guidelines (WCD, IHA, others) • To promote the use of environmental management systems ISO 14001 • Ecolabelling • Public image campaigns • Another possibility is to clearly differentiate itself from LHP and to clearly set the limit of SHP on 10 MW. That will help to understand the differences of two types of hydropower. HIDROENERGIA 2004


What ESHA can do? To have a common official position (not yet totally defined) To improve the image through communication activities In the context of the TNSHP leaflets on Small hydropower will be produced. These leaflets will present the main issues of the SHP (environmental benefits, legislative framework, technology facts, SHP industry sector). Also within the framework of the thematic network, it will be prepared a photo gallery of European small hydropower plants that have successfully integrated the environmental concerns HIDROENERGIA 2004


Let’s Discuss about how to improve the public image of SHP!