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Regimes of rights to use hydropower & Energy Union

May 2016

Policy Advisory Council of Florence School of Regulation

Vincent Rious, Vice President Energy & Regulation at Microeconomix presented the updated report on hydropower regimes written with Prof. Jean-Michel Glachant and his Microeconomix colleague Sébastien Douguet.

He discussed it with the Policy Advisory Council made of major donors of the Florence School, regulators and academics, in particular in the framework of the expected end of silo thinking of Energy Union. Internal Energy Market, Security of Supply and Decarbonisation: three pillars of Energy Union that also characterise hydropower.

Let's hope hydropower be part of Energy Union and the future market redesign directive then to set an adequate level playing field, different from today. Indeed, 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:

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


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