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Press releases 09 December 2019

Hydropower as enabler of the clean energy transition: Future priorities for European hydropower research

The “Strategic Research Agenda” of the newly established EERA Joint Programme Hydropower identifies key challenges and opportunities for hydropower development and provides guidance to policymakers about future research needs.

Brussels/Trondheim – Hydropower represents an important asset for renewable and emission free energy production. It has for many decades been producing the major share of renewable electricity in Europe and is considered a mature technology. However, the role of hydropower will change. It holds unique capabilities for energy supply, storage and regulation and has the potential to become a major enabler of the clean energy transition by providing flexibility to the system. To fulfill this new role as system enabler, the technology must be re-developed into the hydropower technology for the future.

Researchers from 28 universities and research institutes in 12 European countries – organized in the EERA Joint Programme Hydropower – developed the Strategic Research Agenda, in which they identify key research priorities across the following areas:

  • Hydroelectric units
  • Hydropower structures
  • Grid, system integration and markets
  • Water resources, environmental impacts and climate adaptation
  • Social acceptance, engagement and policy
  • Digitalization

The Strategic Research agenda represents a holistic cross-disciplinary approach and addresses technological, economic, environmental and societal challenges. It aligns research efforts across Europe to facilitate the new role for hydropower enabler of the clean energy transition and contributes to the implementation of SET-Plan priorities and the European Green Deal. Hence, the agenda provides valuable input to policymakers and practitioners developing research and innovation policy and calls for research and innovation funding.

Find the PDF of the Strategic Research Agenda here: EERA-JP-Hydropower-SRA



Pål-Tore Selbo Storli
Vice-Coordinator EERA Joint Programme Hydropower
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

About EERA

The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) is an association of European public research centers and universities active in low-carbon energy research. Bringing together more than 250 organisations from 30 countries, EERA is Europe’s largest energy research community. EERA coordinates its research activities through 17 Joint Programmes and is a key player in the European Union’s Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan. For further information, see

About the EERA Joint Programme Hydropower

The Joint Programme Hydropower aims to facilitate a new role for hydropower as enabler for the renewable energy system by aligning and targeting research efforts in Europe. Thematically, the JP Hydropower spans the entire energy chain from water catchment to system integration, and it includes cross-cutting elements such as markets and market design as well as environmental impacts, effects of climate change and policy and societal issues.