What Research and Innovation are Needed to Tap More Hidden Hydro Opportunities in the Future?

28th February 2022

The IEA Technology Cooperation Programme (TCP) on Hydropower (also known as IEA Hydro) is a working group of the International Energy Agency's member countries and others that have a common interest in advancing hydropower worldwide. Under the work programme Annex XVI “Hidden Hydro” is addressed by four subtasks namely: 1) Updating Sustainable Hydropower Inventories; 2) Improving Performance from Existing Hydropower; 3) Adding Power to “Non-power Dams” and Water Management Facilities and 4) Hydropower Technology Research and Innovation in the context of “Hidden” Hydropower opportunities.

In the framework of subtask 4 and in collaboration with the HYDROPOWER EUROPE Forum an online kick-off workshop “What research and innovation are needed to tap more hidden hydro opportunities in future?” was organized. The more than 50 participants connected online discussed the potential innovative research and development initiatives in the field of “Hidden and Untapped Hydropower Opportunities in Existing Infrastructures” with the purpose to contribute to the development of a future oriented research and innovation agenda. The latter should formulate needs  for further technology development to maximize the future use of the potential of sustainable hidden hydropower.

After welcome and a brief introduction of TCP Hydropower by Alex Beckitt, Chair of IEA Hydropower TCP, Hydro Tasmania, AU and Klaus Jorde, Executive Committee Secretary, IEA Hydropower TCP, a short presentation of Annex XVI was given by Cécile Münch-Alligné, professor at HEVS (CH) followed by short overviews of Subtask 1 ”Updating Sustainable Hydropower Inventories” by Vincent Denis, Mhylab (CH), Subtask 2 “Improving Performance from Existing Hydropower” by Yoichi Miyanaga, CRIEPI (JP) and Subtask 3 “Adding Power to Non-power Dams and Water Management Facilities” by Carly Hansen, ORNL (USA). 

Then Thomas Schleker from European Commission introduced the goal of the workshop focusing on “Hydropower Technology Research and Innovation for Hidden Hydropower opportunities”. Anton Schleiss, Coordinator of Hydropower Europe, ICOLD-EPFL, gave an overview of the “Research and Innovation Agenda for Hydropower Development in Europe with focus on Hidden Hydro” as developed by the Hydropower Europe Forum.  Nathalie Voisin, PNNL (USA) highlighted the “US Perspectives on Needed Technology Research and Innovation” followed by a presentation on “R&Is found in good practices by Task 2” in Japan. Finally, Emanuele Quaranta, European Commission Joint Research Centre, gave a talk on “Hidden hydropower potential in EU: micro hydro technologies and hydro fleet modernization”

Jean-Jacques Fry and Mark Morris, from Hydropower Europe then presented a questionnaire with general questions on hidden hydro as well as questions regarding a future questionnaire. The participants had the opportunity to give a direct feedback on the questions by a poll and you can download the results here.

The online workshop was closed with roundtable involving all speakers and chairs and discussing the question how a future oriented research and Innovation agenda can be developed for Hidden Hydro.