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Regimes for granting the right to use hydropower in Europe

March 2016

Open debate on hydropower rights with industry (28/1) and at the EU Parliament (15/3)

Vincent Rious, Vice President Energy & Regulation at Microeconomix and Prof. Jean-Michel Glachant, director of Florence School of regulation presented their updated report on hydropower regimes to the industry and the European Parliament during two open debates.

The report was also relayed by Eurelectric.

Over the last decade, the EU Commission has launched several investigations in different countries (e. g. France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal) regarding the compatibility of hydropower rights with European laws and regulations. Nevertheless, a few regimes (i.e. Austria or Sweden), despite not being grounded on competitive process, were excluded from the inquiry. Although hydro is key to EU energy transition, two complications can be identified:

  1. Member States have totally different and non-harmonised frameworks,
  2. The EU Commission has three diverging voices on this topic: competition, environment, and “only last” energy.

The report aims to provide a balanced benchmark of hydropower concession regimes, by analysing and comparing 14 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, the UK, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) and regions when appropriate (cantons in Switzerland or Lands/States in Germany).

Download the document