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ESHA’s 5th Thematic Network workshop on Small Hydropower Nearly 100 participants from more than 15 countries gathered for the 5th Thematic Network Workshop organised by the European Small Hydropower Association (ESHA), EPFLLCH (Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne - Laboratory of Hydraulic Constructions), and MHyLab (Mini Hydraulics Laboratory, Switzerland). The international event was held to discuss political, environmental, engineering and spatial planning challenges and advancements in the Small Hydropower (SHP) sector. Such an international information exchange is particularly imperative in the ‘enlarged Europe’, to meet the European Renewable Energy targets, and to cope with the challenges which implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) might pose to the SHP sector. The workshop was organized within the framework of two Europeanfunded projects: the Thematic Network on Small Hydropower (TNSHP) funded by the European Commission, and the Swiss Government under the 5th Framework Programme for Research and Development and SPLASH project (Spatial Planning and Local Agreements for Small Hydro project) funded under the Altener programme. The Workshop demonstrated that integrated approaches to small hydro development are needed. These, it was agreed, should include: • the developing of favourable policy frameworks, with binding targets that will ensure security for the investors; • R&D strategies in the medium and long term, focusing on new developments to improve the environmental integration of small hydropower plants and reducing the investment costs, rec-

Workshop participants during the visit to MHyLab. 28

Water Framework Directive Panel Discussion. Steve Cryer (British Hydropower Association), Bernhard Pelikan ( ESHA president), Ghislain Weisrock ( GPAE, France), Daniel Devanthéry, (Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forest and Landscape) Jorge Rodriguez-Romero ( European Commission DG Environment).

onciling economy and ecology; • good planning processes involving all stakeholders to identified potentialities and constraints and to reduce the administrative barriers in the licensing process; and, • raising public awareness and information dissemination through the development of tools to allow the certification and labelling of small hydropower plants. Special attention has been given to the WFD and its influences on small hydro development. Some threats to small hydro development have been identified as a result of strict implementation of the WFD, and these are likely to cause a considerable reduction of SHP production, combined with higher costs. The targets of the RES-e (Renewable Energy Sources – electricity) Directive can never be reached in matters relating to SHP if there is no harmonization between the two Directives. However, the WFD is also an opportunity for a ‘Water Revolution’ towards an integrated water management in Europe where SHP can be integrated in the rivers ecosystem, with minimum

environmental impacts, producing clean electricity and representing, in many European countries, the backbone of renewable energy. The topics of spatial planning and territorial approaches to small hydropower development were covered at the end of the Workshop, with a session dedicated to the presentation of the results of the SPLASH project. The spatial plans developed for SHP in Ireland, Greece, France, Poland and Portugal were presented. Each country has developed its own methodology, identifying the potential and constraints for SHP development on a territory. SPLASH showed that good strategic spatial planning is fundamental for the coordination between the RES-e Directive and the WFD Directive. Besides the presentations, the participants were invited to visit the Laboratory of Hydraulic Constructions, LCH, at EPFL and the MHyLab small hydro laboratory at Montcherand. The 5th Thematic Network Workshop on Small Hydropower constituted a platform for the small hydropower sector between the Hidroenergia 2004 conference in Falkenberg, Sweden, and the next Hidroenergia 2006 to be held in Crieff, Scotland, from 7 to 9 June 2006. ESHA continues to work to promote SHP in Europe and beyond, and is looking forward to welcoming SHP specialists to Hidroenergia 2006 in the UK. This report was contributed by Maria Laguna, ESHA, from whom further details are available. ESHA, Secretariat, The Renewable Energy House , 26, Rue du Trône , B-1000 Brussels, Belgium.

Hydropower & Dams

Issue Four, 2005

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