Inspiring and Fruitful ICPDR Hydropower Workshop in Vienna

News & Media
people sitting at tables in a large room in a workshop setting
Impressions of the Hydropower Workshop

The ICPDR held a highly successful workshop titled "Sustainable Hydropower Development and Environmental Objectives – Framework, Challenges, and Ways Forward" on 4-5 June 2024 at the BOKU River Lab in Vienna. Building on workshops from 2017 and 2021, the event brought together experts from energy and environmental policy sectors, the hydropower industry, NGOs, and researchers.

The workshop focused on addressing the current energy crisis, new EU legislation for renewable energy, and the legal requirements for water and biodiversity. Participants discussed progress, challenges, and potential conflicts between biodiversity and water laws and sustainable hydropower expansion. Moderated sessions facilitated the exchange of ideas and solutions.

Key objectives included sharing experiences with the ICPDR guiding principles, reviewing the latest policy developments, discussing challenges and solutions, presenting innovative solutions and research, and exploring strategic approaches for ecological improvements and sustainable hydropower development. Representatives from the EU, Danube countries, hydropower companies, NGOs, and the scientific community exchanged knowledge to support the practical application of the Hydropower Guiding Principles, with outcomes feeding into the Danube River Basin Management Plan Update 2027.

Participants addressed several key questions, including the strengths and areas for improvement in the guiding principles, potential impacts of new EU legislation on hydropower, alignment of sustainable hydropower with water protection and biodiversity objectives, balancing hydropower and biodiversity in times of crisis, future prospects of hydropower during drought periods, and closing the implementation gap for Water Framework Directive objectives related to hydropower.

With around 50 participants, including representatives from each ICPDR contracting party, the workshop featured expert presentations and interactive sessions facilitated by Mr. Peter Woodward. 

Participants' feedback was overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the workshop as inspiring, fruitful, and well-organized. The ICPDR Hydropower Workshop 2024 successfully facilitated a comprehensive exchange of ideas and solutions, contributing to the sustainable development of hydropower in the Danube Basin.