In a joint effort to highlight the pivotal role of hydropower in achieving the European Union's (EU) climate neutrality goals, Eurelectric, in collaboration with the EU Hydropower Alliance and vgbe energy e.V., issued a compelling letter urging legislators to include hydropower in the list of "strategic net-zero technologies" under the Net-Zero Industry Act.

The letter, titled "European Hydropower – A strategic net-zero technology," emphasizes the unique contributions of hydropower and its indispensability in achieving the EU's sustainability targets. As negotiations for the Net-Zero Industry Act reach their final stages, proponents argue that recognizing hydropower as a strategic player is essential for a sustainable and resilient EU power system.

Hydropower, standing as the second-largest renewable energy source in the EU, annually generates 355 TWh of electricity. The letter highlights the unparalleled flexibility of hydropower, playing a crucial role in ensuring the secure and stable operation of the electricity grid. Pumped storage hydropower, constituting over 90% of available EU storage capacity, offers essential services for electricity storage, absorbing excess generation and avoiding curtailment.

As the EU aims to add 621GW of new variable renewable electricity capacity within six years, the proponents argue that hydropower's flexibility and storage capabilities will become increasingly important in meeting these ambitious targets.

The letter emphasizes the need to secure Europe's competitive advantage in clean technologies, citing past mistakes in solar manufacturing that are now being corrected. Europe, having solidified its standing as a world leader in hydropower technology, possesses a transparent and sustainable value chain, reducing dependence on critical raw materials and fossil fuel imports. The authors stress that Europe is strategically positioned to capitalize on opportunities arising from investments in the modernization of existing and development of new hydropower plants globally.

Highlighting the importance of comprehensive water management strategies in the face of climate change, the letter underscores the adaptability of hydropower plants. These plants can regulate flood events, strategically release water during droughts to safeguard ecosystems, agriculture, and facilitate navigation. Additionally, hydropower plays a crucial role in ensuring a reliable water supply for various applications, including drinking, irrigation, industrial processes, and firefighting.

The authors of the letter urge Members of the European Parliament and Permanent Representatives of EU Member States to recognize the undeniable importance of hydropower and include it in the list of "strategic net-zero technologies." They argue that the Net-Zero Industry Act will enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the industrial base of net-zero technologies, forming the backbone of an affordable, reliable, and sustainable clean power system in the EU.