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In response to the European Commission’s Calls for enhanced flexibility, storage, and environmental sustainability, ETIP Hydropower is paving the way for the transformation of the energy landscape


For more than a century, hydropower has served as a reliable and clean energy provider, harnessing the power of water to generate electricity. Its historical significance and proven results make it a crucial element in the global pursuit of more sustainable energy alternatives. The European Commission (EC) is aware of this role and has placed in the spotlight this renewable source.

The EC acknowledges the ability of hydropower in enhancing flexibility, storage capacity and sustainability. The Calls for proposals in these areas reflect the need for adaptation to changing energy demands that require improved grid stability. The European Technology and Innovation Platform (ETIP) Hydropower emerges as an ally in this quest as its main objective is to gather all the stakeholders in the hydropower value chain and guide them towards the innovations required to align with the European vision.


Harnessing Research in the hydropower sector

ETIPs collaboration with EC Research and Innovation initiatives becomes essential in shaping the future of energy. These projects act as catalysts for development as they create the base for exploration and implementation of future solutions. In this setting, every ETIP establishes a strategic roadmap for stakeholders from research communities and beyond.

In relation to hydropower, efficiency, sustainability, flexibility, and storage emerge as the keywords of the EC’s vision for the sector in the coming years, providing a clear structure to navigate the research scene.

    • Efficiency:

This means to enhance hydropower efficiency for energy output. The projects in this category are usually infrastructure based, for example, they could tackle the modernisation of turbines or improvement of plants’ performance.

    • Sustainability:

Addressing historical environmental concerns, sustainability in hydropower is on the quest of improved models that can only be reached through investments in research and innovation. Actions in this research line include monitoring restoration sites, establishing biological databases, identifying reservoir services for biodiversity, researching environmental indicators, fostering eco-design collaboration, and exploring innovative societal approaches, among others.

    • Flexibility:

The ability of hydropower to adapt to fluctuating energy demands is one of the biggest assets, since it is essential to grid stability. Projects addressing flexibility mostly concentrate on the implementation of digital solutions, such as smart grid integration or smart storage systems.

    • Storage:

Storage is one of the biggest challenges across all energy transition efforts. It is essential to address the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources and to adapt to the demand. Research projects tackling storage revolve around developments in pumped storage and other technologies to store the excess of energy during periods of low demand. Large hydropower reservoirs are also vital to mitigate climate change effects and thus contribute to the WEF NEXUS and achievement of the SDGs of the United Nations.


By strategically associating these keywords (efficiency, sustainability, flexibility and storage) with EU research initiatives, stakeholders gain a powerful tool to navigate the research needs of the sector. This targeted approach ensures the alignment with the broader vision for energy that has been set up by the European Commission, making hydropower as not only resilient, but also an environmentally friendly and technologically advanced source.

As we embrace the challenges of energy transition, the synergy between research and innovation and policy emerges as a locomotive behind the progress of hydropower. The cooperation between the EC and ETIP Hydropower is more than just a connection. It could be an opportunity to steer hydropower as the pivot to catalyse energy transition in Europe.


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Image: Dam in Madrid. Wirestock from Freepik

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