Sustainable Hydropower

On January 1, 2019, new legislation came into force, resulting in a tightening of the requirements to comply with environmental quality standards (EQS) in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) in line with the case law of the European Court of Justice.  In addition, a new system for reassessment has been introduced. The new scheme means that practitioners of hydroelectric power activities, on their own initiative, will have to apply for re-assessment of their operations in order to ensure that the facilities have “modern environmental conditions”.  A national plan shall guide the order in which such review shall take place. The purpose of the plan is to specify a national holistic view of how operations, in a coordinated way, should be provided with modern environmental conditions ”with the greatest possible benefit for the aquatic environment and for national efficient access to hydroelectric power”.

The aim of the study is to clarify and analyze the meaning of the rules in the new legislation and to investigate whether the rules mean that the goal with the WFD is now achieved. Within the framework of the overall analysis, the project will identify and analyze what legal conflicts and problems may arise in the reassessment procedure – which can reach the goal of assuring Swedish hydroelectric power with modern environmental conditions, without reducing the effective supply on hydroelectric power.

The study is a legal study. The primary object of study is therefore the law, which is analyzed on the basis of the legal sources (legal text, preliminary work, case law and doctrine).

Hydropower, modern environmental conditions, WFD, national plan

Research Group

Melina Malafry, postdoc climate and energy law, Department  of law, Uppsala University