Hydroelectricity and Ecology - a Contradiction?

Our rivers are living environments, which are to be preserved and protected.

The EU Water Framework Directive stipulates that all over Europe a “good ecological status” in all waters is to be reached by 2015, and, with a possible extension of the deadline, by 2027. A current study shows a range of possible effects of measures to reach this goal on the utilisation of hydroelectricity in Austria. The results show clearly that the effects present themselves in a very differentiated way and depend on the type, the size, and the deployment strategy of the power station. Related to the total Austrian hydroelectricity production it resulted in production losses between 2 and 7 %. Apart from the monetary losses due to the production losses, financial impacts for the energy industry regarding the generation of ecological passability of waters within the next 20 years by means of the construction of fish ladders and the connection of side waters are to be expected as well. This would require for small-scale hydroelectric power stations investment costs of a dimension of up to 4.5 million per year until 2027, and for large power stations it could entail costs of up to 7 million per year during this period. These results were presented to the public within the framework of a press conference by the Secretary-General of the then so-called Ministry of Life, Werner Wutscher, the spokesperson of the branch production of the Association of Austrian Electricity Companies (VEÖ, Verband der Elektrizitätsunternehmen Österreichs), Mr. Herbert Schröfelbauer, and the President of the Association for the Promotion of small Hydropower Stations in Austria, Mr. Hanns Kottulinsky on 30 November 2005.

published at 11.12.2020, Kommunikation und Service (Abteilung Präs. 5)