LRE and EAA secure key support to limit the development of small-scale dams

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24 May

On 16 May, the European Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee adopted its amendments on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The committee supported the Living Rivers Europe (LRE) call to limit the development of hydropower, especially small-scale installations.

The revision of the Renewable Energy Directive aims to gradually replace carbon-intensive energy production with renewable energy installations. Under the revised RED, Member States would be required to increase the share of renewables in their energy mix to reach 40% by 2030. Hydropower is considered as a renewable source of energy in this directive, thus counting towards the renewable energy target and plants being eligible to financial support.

However, the Living Rivers Europe (LRE) coalition, of which EAA is a founding member, convinced the members of the ENVI Committee of the necessity to introduce sustainability criteria for hydropower in the revised directive. Indeed, with the vote that took place on 16 May, the ENVI Committee supported that:
  • new small-scale hydropower (less than 10 MW), which have a dreadful impact on river’s biodiversity, should not be eligible to financial support and not count towards the renewable energy target;
  • new hydropower plants should also not be located in areas prioritised for river connectivity restoration to be eligible to financial and count as renewable sources of energy;
  • In addition, existing hydropower plants must have implemented all technically feasible and ecologically relevant mitigation measures to reduce adverse impacts on water including ensuring upstream and downstream fish migration.

EAA, together with the LRE, will continue its work on this key file to ensure that the European Parliament’s plenary vote confirms this positive step. EU Member States’ position on this matter will also be crucial as the European Parliament and the Council jointly decide on the final text of the revised directive.
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