On January 14th, 2019, Sweden started registering the owners of the hydroelectricity facilities to implement a comprehensive assessment of the impact of this sector on the environment and ensure the preconditions for the implementation of the provisions of the new law on water resources and hydropower. The law came into force on January 1st, 2019, and regulates, among other things, the value of hydropower in achieving 100% renewable energy in the balance of the state by 2040. In particular, hydropower should play a key role in balancing energy production with unstable types of RES (sun, wind) and at the same time ensure compliance with new environmental standards and requirements for the protection of water resources.
In order to effectively enforce the legislation, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, Swedish Energy Agency and the Svenska kraftnät transmission system operator company began to develop a national plan for environmental assessment of hydroelectricity objects, which must be submitted to the Swedish government by October 1st, 2019.
The plan introduces an assessment procedure for those objects that cannot confirm compliance with the environmental standards of the new law and ensure the harmonious development of hydropower without harming the environment. Testing will be carried out by a special body after the relevant request by the owner of the hydropower facility. At the time of verification, the requirements for compliance with environmental standards under the new law are suspended.
Owners of hydro-energy objects also receive the right to apply for financial compensation for re-inspection, implementation of measures to increase the environmental sustainability of production and return of production losses from the Environmental Fund for Hydroelectricity (Vattenkraftens Miljöfond). Such an opportunity will be available by July 1st, 2019, after which the state will cease centralized registration and financial assistance from the above mentioned fund. Subsequently, the owners of hydroelectric power plants will be required to apply for an environmental assessment to the land and ecological courts of the respective regional administrative units of Sweden and to carry out the relevant procedures without financial compensation.
Hydropower development is considered by many leading European Union countries as one of the most important areas for regulating the energy system, provided that renewable energy sources (RES) are increasing.
Picture from: powerplants.vattenfall.com