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Zabala Innovation participates in ETIP Hydropower, the common voice of hydropower in Europe

ETIP Hydropower

Zabala Innovation will participate as a partner in the dissemination, operation, and communication activities of ETIP Hydropower, a new project developed within the framework of the Horizon Europe programme. With a budget of just under one million euros, its objective is to promote cooperation between various actors from industry, academia, civil society, and associations in the hydropower sector, to provide advice on development needs and alignment with the European Union’s climate and energy policies. The project will run for three years but will work on consolidating the network of industry representatives beyond this timeframe.

A hydropower ETIP for what?

The European Technology and Innovation Platforms (ETIP) concept was created in 2015 by the European Union to contribute to the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) and its roadmap. It seeks to bring together similar initiatives and forums and to enable cooperation and joint implementation of activities.

Europe’s ambitious energy transition targets require several shifts towards cleaner, low-carbon energy generation. In 2020, hydropower accounted for one-third of all electricity generated from renewable sources, according to Eurostat. However, only two-thirds of the current potential has been exploited.

This large development potential, combined with the ability to align supply with demand due to its low variability and unrivalled flexibility, makes hydropower a good ally in the energy transition. However, the environmental challenges it faces, as well as the social, technological, and commercial challenges, require new approaches. A permanent and common voice of all hydropower stakeholders is needed to support research and innovation efforts and raise public awareness.

An important precedent

The premises of ETIP Hydropower were forged between November 2018 and February 2022 in the Hydropower Europe project, set up under the Horizon 2020 programme, the predecessor of Horizon Europe. Despite the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, in those 40 months, the project brought together more than 600 hydropower stakeholders who participated in several consultation processes. The objective was to create a common understanding, review, and develop the needs for hydropower in the future.

In this way, the Strategic Industry Roadmap and Research & Innovation Agenda for the sector were elaborated. The result materialised in 18 research themes with 80 different issues and 11 strategic directions including 40 detailed actions, covering a wide range of areas from social acceptance and communication to environmental strategies and regulation.

ETIP Hydropower is born

The consortium of the new ETIP Hydropower is now in a position to integrate these strategies into the SET-Plan roadmap and will further consolidate the network of more than 600 representatives into a sustainable partnership, which will intertwine with other initiatives in the renewable energy sector, with the common goal of supporting the European energy transition.

Due to the positive feedback, as with the Hydropower Europe project, ETIP Hydropower will be led by the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) and will have the same partners: SAMUI Research and Consultancy, the European Association for Energy Storage (EASE), the Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres (EUREC), VGB Powertech, Zabala Innovation, the European Renewable Energy Federation (EREF) and the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

Zabala Innovation’s European project team has joined the ETIP Hydropower consortium as a partner and will lead key tasks such as raising public awareness in the ETIP Communication Working Group, promoting innovation and best practices for the industry, and implementing the dissemination, exploitation, and communication strategy.


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