The European Commission, under the Horizon research Programme, has announced a call for projects focused on the "Development of hydropower equipment for improving techno-economic efficiency and equipment resilience in refurbishment situations." This initiative is aimed at bolstering the sustainability, efficiency, and competitiveness of the hydropower sector, with a specific focus on the European Union as part of the broader #REPowerEU context.

The primary objectives of this call for projects are to enhance the efficiency and resilience of hydropower equipment used in the refurbishment of existing hydropower plants, particularly those that are outdated concerning efficiency, power market integration, climate change adaptation, and environmental sustainability. The project's scope includes the development of novel technologies that can improve the efficiency and economic aspects of existing hydropower installations during refurbishment without the need for significant modifications to the hydraulic systems. Key components of these technologies involve implementing circularity by design, such as low-friction and resistant materials and technical solutions that can minimize wear and tear during future operation modes.

The expected outcomes of these projects are multi-faceted, with a focus on:

  • Maintaining Availability: Ensuring that the existing hydropower fleet plays a significant role in the future power market by operating as flexible power suppliers.
  • Technology Leadership and Competitiveness: Increasing the technology leadership and competitiveness of the European hydropower industry, while also enhancing its potential for technology exports.
  • Cost Reduction and Efficiency Improvement: Reducing the costs and improving the efficiency of refurbished hydropower installations.
  • Enhanced Sustainability: Prioritizing the sustainability of refurbished hydropower plants, with a strong emphasis on considerations such as the circular economy, social factors, economic aspects, and environmental impacts. These goals align with the European Green Deal's priorities, which include energy and climate targets and biodiversity preservation.

These projects are expected to contribute to the overarching objectives of the European Commission's Horizon Programme, with a keen focus on driving innovation, sustainability, and competitiveness in the hydropower sector. The call for project proposals will be open until January 16, 2024, at 17:00 Brussels time.

More details regarding the call for projects, including specific guidelines and application procedures, can be found on the European Commission's official website: