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Hydropower renaissance: new horizons towards the green energy frontier

The significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions hinges on the efficient integration of renewable sources into the energy generation mix, among various other factors. Presently, hydropower stands as the predominant contributor to global renewable energy generation. However, within the European Union, an intricate challenge arises as a considerable number of hydropower plants approach the end of their operational lifespan. Concurrently, stringent environmental regulations mandate the restoration of natural water flows, necessitating the potential dismantling of these aging plants. This juncture introduces a complex dilemma, wherein the imperative for ecological restoration intersects with the potential loss of a pivotal green energy resource. In response, this study is dedicated to a comprehensive examination of the diverse supplementary roles that hydropower plants can play within the current and forthcoming decarbonized electricity framework.

In pursuit of this overarching objective, a thorough exploration has been conducted into the array of auxiliary services that hydropower plants can offer. These are, among others, the participation in secondary and tertiary regulation markets, engagement in power purchase agreements, facilitation of local energy communities, reduction of energy curtailments, establishment of renewable energy storage mechanisms, and reinforcement of grid stability through contributions to its physical inertia. By unraveling these multifaceted dimensions, this investigation aims to lay a course that brings together the dual requirements of environmental preservation and sustainable energy provision. Under the title of "Alternative Uses of Hydroelectric Power Plants in a Decarbonized Energy Scenario," this study led by CIRCE Technology Centre embarks on a journey to illuminate innovative and pragmatic pathways for a harmonious coexistence between ecological rejuvenation and the evolution of energy infrastructure.

Read the publication HERE.


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