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Small Hydro Energy Efficient Promotion Campaign Action (SHERPA)

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SHERPA sets out to increase awareness among politicians and decision makers of the relevance of small-scale hydropower (SHP) as a renewable energy source. It addresses the issue of the environmental performance of SHP plants as well as a comprehensive territorial planning approach in relation to water bodies. It also aims to make EU directives, such as the RES-E directive, and the Water Framework Directive more consistent and to ensure that future policy papers are more effective. The project is also working towards a more active debate through the frequent use of policy forums to discuss targets, licensing, and support and planning issues.


  • Policy forums have been held in Lithuania, France, Italy, Poland, and Sweden;
  • A report on ‘The technical and operational procedure to better integrate small hydro plants into the environment’ was produced and is downloadable from the project’s website;
  • Case studies were carried out in Italy, Spain, Slovenia and France, establishing good-practice examples for preventing, remedying or mitigating the adverse ecological effects of human manipulation of the environment and the hydrological characteristics of surface water bodies;
  • An international workshop on public image was held in Sweden, bringing interested parties together from various RES-E fields to exchange information and points of view. Improving SHP’s public image was also a key issue: environmental groups, fishermen federations and other public opinion makers were invited to find common ground and collaborate to establish compromises;
  • Findings are being disseminated through, for example, information services to members, e. g. newsletters and the ESHA website, and by producing relevant studies and publications.

Lessons learned

  • The SHP sector is facing barriers that are not only coming from administrative or environmental requirements but also for contradiction between the own EU legislation for example from the implementation of the RES-E Directive, the Water Framework Directive and the legislation for protecting fish like the eels or salmon.
  • implementation of the RES-E Directive, the Water Framework Directive and the legislation for protecting fish like the eels or salmon. In addition, the sector is complex and unknown. On one side both top-down and bottom-up approaches are needed to support the development of the sector and on the other side the current status of the industry is not well known among the public which makes urgent a deeper analysis of the industry through accurate and reliable data.
  • In summary, the SHP offers still an untapped potential to be developed. Last updated: 28.06.2010

Partners and coordinator

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European Small Hydropower Association
Contact point: 
Christine Lins
0032 2 546 19 45


Key documents

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In brief

01/10/2006 to 30/09/2008
Contract number: 

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