Image by Zahra Reismüller, courtesy ETIP Hydropower

The second edition of the Brussels Hydropower Day, organized by ETIP Hydropower, convened experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to delve into the crucial role of hydropower in spearheading the transition to clean energy. Held on 16th April 2024, this significant event, operating under the theme "The important role of hydropower as a catalyst in the clean and safe energy transition under uncertainties," took place within the ambit of the Sustainable Energy Days of the European Commission.

Keynote speakers set the tone for the day-long discussions, highlighting the pivotal role of hydropower in Europe's sustainable future. Kristian Ruby, Secretary General at EURELECTRIC, stressed the necessity for clean electricity, with projections indicating over half of energy consumption must derive from clean sources by 2040 and 2050. He underscored hydropower's unique potential in stabilizing the power system and advocated for a stable regulatory framework to unleash its full potential while mitigating environmental impact. Mathilde Lallemand-Dupuy, Policy Officer from the Directorate General for Energy of the European Commission (DG ENER), emphasized hydropower's critical role in providing flexibility solutions for the future energy system. Despite regulatory and financial barriers, she highlighted initiatives aimed at maximizing hydropower's potential.

In subsequent thematic sessions, experts explored topics such as the value of flexible hydropower, multipurpose hydro projects, and the hybridization of hydropower with other renewables. Presentations showcased innovative projects and initiatives aimed at balancing energy supply and demand, addressing environmental concerns, and meeting future energy goals. Panel discussions further deepened understanding and highlighted the interconnectedness of long-term planning, flexibility needs, and environmental considerations.

Mark Morris from SAMUI France concluded the event with an overview of ETI Hydropower's objectives, emphasizing its role in uniting the hydropower sector and advocating on critical issues. Sébastien Mortier, the EC officer overseeing ETIP Hydropower, emphasized the project's significance and ongoing enhancements. In closing, Denis Aelbrecht, Deputy Technical Director for EDF and chair of the Governing Board of ETIP Hydropower,  remarked: "Today, we've demonstrated that hydropower is the unsung hero of the #energytransition."

The Brussels Hydropower Day 2024 served as a platform for meaningful discussions and collaborations, underscoring hydropower's indispensable contribution to Europe's clean energy future.

* Look out for the June 2024 issue of International Water Power & Dam Construction which will contain a more detailed in-depth report on the event