What’s the Future for European Hydroelectric?

Published on Thursday, 1 June 2017

“Enel Green Power was also present at the event, represented by our colleague Andrea Casolaro, Head of Safety and Water Management in the Business Hydro Unit Piedmont.”

The common thread of the workshop was the link between safeguarding fish fauna (and the river environment in general) and energy generation. As part of this, plenty of time was dedicated to innovative approaches to the research and management of water resources.

Event participants were mainly researchers (from universities and research institutes), institutions (the European Commission, Ministers and Institutes from individual Member States of the EU) and hydroelectric producers (Enel the only one from Italy), but for the first time there was also considerable participation from Energy Generation Companies.

“EGP’s participation was particularly important and greatly appreciated. The company brought a perspective that is certainly different from that of researchers and institutions, providing points of view that a Legislator wouldn’t usually take into close consideration.”

Andrea Casolaro

One of these is the “acknowledgement that hydroelectric energy is one of the most important types of renewable energies and can substantially contribute to the achievement of the environmental improvement goals set forth at COP21 Paris”, adds Andrea Casolaro. “Our concentration is on contributing to the COP21 targets, not only in full respect of the environment, but also with stimuli to improve the environmental conditions of watercourses, which is also one of the reasons this workshop was organised”.

Our colleague’s presentation offered an overview of the Italian legislative context and how EGP has been able to seize the opportunities created by legislation by carrying out and promoting, together with the competent authorities and ARPA, experiments on environmental flow in the Alps and Apennines.

In the second part of the presentation, Casolaro showed an DMV experimental Case Study performed in Piedmont, lasting three years, in which, in addition to the activities required by regional guidelines and the legislation in force, a study to determine the habitat of local fish species with the MesoHABSIM method was carried out.

“The MesoHABSIM method is a technique involving 2D modelling of the affected river section, and is recognised as an extremely good practice at the European level. It was part of other presentations during the workshop as well.”

The final day included a visit to the pumping plant on the Alberta Canal, an artificial canal that joins two of northern Europe’s main rivers, allowing a significant amount of freight transport by ship from the major Atlantic ports to the inland.