No green light for small hydropower in EU Finance Taxonomy

Hydropower is not a sustainable investment. EU Commission should listen to science.

Hydropower plants, especially small hydro, are one of the main causes for the increasingly long Red Lists of fishes. If the expansion is not stopped, 186 fish species in the rivers of the Mediterranean region will be pushed further towards extinction.

© Amel Emric

Together with over 130 NGOs and experts, EuroNatur calls on the Commission to listen to science in its fight against the climate crisis, and especially to the recommendations of its own Technical Expert Group on the Taxonomy. These have been largely ignored in the current draft act. On 20 November, the European Commission released its draft Delegated Act on the EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy. These green finance rules aim to define which activities can be classed as sustainable and climate-friendly investments.

While EuroNatur welcomes the exclusion of fossil fuels from the proposed act, EuroNatur is extremely concerned that the draft act does not follow the Technical Expert Group’s recommendation that “construction of small hydropower (<10MW) should be avoided”. Across Europe and beyond, small hydropower has resulted in massive impacts on rivers and streams in sensitive ecosystems. This is all the more unacceptable given its negligible contribution to electricity supply. The draft act must exclude small hydropower completely. It cannot make a significant contribution to climate change mitigation. 

It is also alarming that the draft act has weakened the recommendations of the technical expert group on biomass. It has accepted that all forest biomass may be burned as feedstocks. This decision contradicts the fact that forest biomass can mitigate climate change.

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