To: Innovation Norway, Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, Ministry of Energy

Title: STOP financing the construction of new SSHPPs

What do you want to achieve: Elimination of funding for “construction of small scale hydro power plants” through Call 1.1 ‘Increased capacity to deliver renewable energy’ – Hydropower, for the Energy Programme in Romania financed under the EEA financial mechanism 2014-2021

Why it is important: The mentioned funding allocates 7.2 million EURO for the refurbishment, and the CONSTRUCTION OF NEW SMALL SCALE HYDRO POWER PLANTS - SSHPPs [1]

We have all seen what SSHPPs mean, how wild valleys of the Carpathians have been mutilated and how dry river beds have been left, in order to produce so-called “green” energy [2], because environmental impact assessments are not done correctly, they are shrouded in corruption and there is no control of the responsible authorities such as the Water Basin Administrations, the Environmental Protection Agencies or the National Environmental Guard.

In Romania, there are currently 528 SSHPPs with capacities below 4 MW, with a total installed capacity of 468.6 MW, according to the latest data from Transelectrica [3]. This means a production capacity of about as much as a large dam [4].

Well, not only rivers and landscapes are irreversibly destroyed, but these small scale hydro power plants do not even produce much, so the amount of energy produced obtained from new investments could be produced by upgrading existing SSHPPs, with investments not only in new technologies , but also in improving connectivity, so that fish can move again freely on the watercourses.

Through refurbishment, the production capacity of the SSHPPs already built could be substantially improved, with virtually zero environmental impact.

On the other hand, there are truly green renewable energy alternatives with little impact on nature, and then the question arises - why destroying those few streams that are still natural? Let's not forget that solar energy has become the cheapest source of renewable energy, with minimal environmental costs [5].

Let's face it, hundreds of rivers have already been destroyed, to build 528 small scale hydro power plants, which produce a total energy of about as much as a larger dam! Many of these SSHPPs will be abandoned due to their inefficiency, after the disappearance of the support schemes, without any plans for environmental restoration!

We draw attention to the fact that SSHPPs are an environmental crime, their development in modern times being in total opposition to what happens to rivers in other countries, where there is a clear trend in terms of their renaturation, important dams being removed to restore migration routes of fish that were interrupted for decades (sometimes more than a century) [6].

Also, the construction of new SSHPPs is breaching the new Biodiversity Strategy of the European Union, which provides that by 2030 the natural course of at least 25,000 km of the length of the rivers in the Europe will be restored [7]! Thus, while upgrading existing SSHPPs with the potential to integrate adequate fish migration facilities is welcomed, funding allocation for new SSHPPs is unacceptable.

Sign the petition, we can no longer afford to lose rivers, thickening the pockets of some "smart guys"!

[1] Call for proposals
[3] PATRES Producătorii de energie hidro vor intra în faliment datorită taxelor solicitate de Apele Române
[4] Built hyropower plants
[5] Solar is now ‘cheapest electricity in history’, confirms IEA
[6] European Dam Removal map
[7] European Comission
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