The eight Swiss Competence Centers for Energy Research (SSCERs), financed by the Commision for Technology and Innovation, are research networks created to increase the research capacity in the energy domain. Their aim is to support the development of innovative solutions to address the technical, social, and political challenges resulting from the aims of the Swiss Energy Strategy 2050.
The SCCER Supply of Electricity (SCCER-SoE) focuses on the domains of hydropower and geoenergies (deep geothermal energy and CO2 sequestration). Eawag leads task 2.4 of the SCCER-SoE, which aims at assessing the environmental impacts caused by an expected increase in hydropower production in Switzerland, and at developing strategies for reducing these.
Objectives of Task 2.4
Activities at Eawag focus mainly on the trade-off between electricity production from small run-of-river hydropower plants, biodiversity and ecosystem services.
According to the Swiss energy strategy 2050 a maximum additional yearly production of 2200 GWh of electricity should be provided by small run-of-river hydropower plants (<10 MW). Such small plants are perceived to have a smaller ecological impact. However, there is evidence that the network-scale impacts of small hydropower plants may be more far-reaching than expected so far. Studies assessing local and network-scale impacts of small hydropower plants are rare. There is a need for tools assessing the overall impact of multiple hydropower plants within a river network, both locally and network-wide.