This European project is a technical solution to harmonize energy and water through its mission, “making sustainable hydropower a reality”: Administrators of mountain areas daily face water use issues and have to take decisions in relation to them. But they lack reliable management tools tailored to mountain rivers, to rigorously evaluate the effects of water abstraction on environment and on society.
hydropower, integrated river management, multicriteria approach, river ecosystems, biodiversity
This European project is a technical solution to harmonize energy and water through its mission, “making sustainable hydropower a reality”: Administrators of mountain areas daily face water use issues and have to take decisions in relation to them. But they lack reliable management tools tailored to mountain rivers, to rigorously evaluate the effects of water abstraction on environment and on society. The main objective of SHARE is to bring them practical solutions, so that their decision-making process is based on more consistent and transparent criteria. Besides, the cultural link to the environmental component of hydro systems is often weak, even if their ecological significance is strategic: the project intends to make evident that a healthy mountain river is a concrete added value in every mountain regions.
SHARE is developped in 5 alpine countries; SHARE solution can be implemented in any alpine area.
1) The project SHARE is in line with the European Territorial Cooperation Alpine Space Programme, jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (EU) and states involved. The project is composed of 13 partners based in 5 countries: France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia. This consortium gathers different areas of expertise (hydropower, law and ecosystems) and different status (public, private and non governmental organisations). 2) The project is already initiated: SHARE project partners are currenlty developing the SHARE solution. Afterwards, SHARE local implementation will rely on local authorities, hydropower companies, local NGOs, or any stakeholder needing a decision making support tool for hydropower planning and river management. 3) Local authorities, elected bodies, or water body management authorities when they exist, are the best entities to follow-up and monitor the use of SHARE solution at the local level. Local NGO can fit in this role too.
SHARE solution is facilitated by a Multicriteria Approach (MCA) methodology, and supported by a software, both currently under testing. The MCA brings to light all stakeholders and issues regardless of influence, economic importance, notoriety, authority. An MCA methodology proves to be especially helpful where environmental, technical, economic and social criteria can’t be quantified by monetary values. It will help decision makers take transparent and well informed decisions where hydropower is involved. The MCA will notably include scientific knowledge related to HP and river management. A guidance document will expose the functioning of the MCA and of the software that will implement it. The software and the guidebook will be the foundations of a practical decision system. Those tools will be available first semester 2012. The MCA methodology is implemented through 11 pilot case studies. Then the MCA procedures will be adjusted, depending on issues put forward by the feedback.
On the one hand, the Directive on Electricity Production from Renewable Energy Sources obliges EU member states to increase the share of renewable electricity production, in order to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. The aim was to reach a “22,1% indicative share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in total Community electricity consumption by 2010”. On the other hand, the Water Framework Directive (WFD) obliges EU member states to reach and maintain a “good” ecological status of water bodies by 2015. The WFD refers to river continuity as a “quality element” to assess the ecological status, and underlines the need for “control on abstraction and impoundment in order to ensure the environmental sustainability of the affected water systems”. SHARE shapes a thin path: sustainable hydropower. The project provides methodological and practical tools to promote this approach in the Alps, based on local stakeholders’ needs and constraints.
1) SHARE solution is developed jointly with local stakeholders, through local permanent technical panels (PTPs). This approach is innovative in the way that it ables SHARE solution to fit very close their needs and constraints. 2) SHARE approach enables to gather all local stakeholders and interests involved in HP planning, and provides a common framework for HP plants project evaluation. 3) Preliminary results are qualitative: the reception of SHARE approach amongst local PTPs is very positive, for both targets local authorities and HP producers: – Local authorities are very much aware of the double challenge they face: more hydropower for renewables development purposes, but better water bodies quality. They are much in need for a decision making support that will facilitate normative compliance and local interests weighting. – HP producers are also aware that they cant avoid river preservation issues anymore, but lack tools to integrate these issues in their business.
- river bodies quality increase in the Alps – HP production maintaining or increase in the Alps – capacity building of local authorities on HP issues weigthing, on a case by case basis
1) All stakeholders in water management issues can take part in and benefit from the project results as members of the SHARE’s Permanent Technical Panels (PTPs). Members of the PTP shape the results according to their needs, expertise and local particularities. SHARE’s target groups and contributors are: • regional and local authorities; • policy makers; • water agencies and water authorities; • environmental protection agencies; • hydropower companies; • water suppliers (industry, agriculture, recreation domains); • associations and NGOs; • national parks; • engineering and design offices; • universities; • specialised press & lobbyists. This heterogeneity enables SHARE to consider concerns of all stakeholders while elaborating the appropriate tools for them.
The systematic implementation of sustainable hydropower can only be the result of legal authorities’ strong will. The decision is for local public bodies to make; SHARE will provide them with means to strike a balance between the needs of hydropower and the health of water bodies. SHARE’s other target groups (such as HP promoters, river conservation defenders, local associations) can also use the project’s results and tools to know more about the specificities of a location. For example, in order to construct and support convincing and transparent arguments in a demonstration about the suitable siting and design of a HP plant, or when arguing if a plant should be erased, modified or even not built at all.
The relation already established with several environmental agencies and regional authorities, through their direct participation in the project as partners, or as PTP members, enables SHARE results to be disseminated in a wider way.
SHARE – Sustainable Hydropower in Alpine Rivers Ecosystems – is an ongoing European project involving 5 countries: Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Germany and France and 13 partners. For more details, go on our website: http://www.share-alpinerivers.eu/ Project manager: Mathieu Ruillet, firstname.lastname@example.org – phone: +33. 188.8.131.52.88 Contact for press: Audrey Onillon, email@example.com – phone: +33. 184.108.40.206.88
Free registration on SHARE webplateform: http://www.sharealpinerivers.eu/join 10-minutes online seminar for easily stepping in the SHARE approach: http://www.slideshare.net/SHAREPROJECT/on-line-seminar1problem-to-be-addressed General information on the project: http://www.share-alpinerivers.eu/