In Europe, we have been building hydropower plants along our rivers for decades, damaging one of the most valuable resources for all life on earth: rivers and freshwater ecosystems. It is time to put an end to the expansion of hydropower in Europe before we wipe out entire ecosystems and all of the services they provide to humans and nature. New hydropower is of negligible benefit in moving towards climate neutrality in the EU and its irreversible effects on biodiversity, landscapes and sometimes even water supplies1 can no longer be justified.
With more than 150 organizations we challenge
We call on the EU institutions to stop supporting the construction of new hydropower plants:
- Public finances for new hydropower in Europe must stop. Given the commitments under the European Green Deal, public subsidies and loans that are detrimental to biodiversity and nature conservation are not acceptable. In particular hydropower – including small-scale hydropower – should no longer be eligible for state aid and EU financial institutions should no longer fund new hydropower projects in any way.
- The public funds for hydropower should be diverted to the ecological renovation of existing plants13; to remove obsolete dams; and investing in inexpensive, low-carbon, low-impact alternatives such as solar and wind power in the appropriate location, combined with energy efficiency, demand-side response and the many forms of energy storage. The transparency of project approvals and investments should be improved, including for projects financed by financial intermediaries.