Coherence Issues Between Climate, Energy and Water in the Case of European Hydropower: Can We Have It All?

  • Jonida AbazajEmail author


The questions of renewable and sustainable energy have attracted increasing attention in the last decades, becoming salient topics on the national and European political agendas. In parallel, hydropower has made an incredible return to the global agenda, after having been absent due to heavy criticism because of its social and environmental impacts. The common denominator for this surge is represented by the need to mitigate climate change and support low-carbon development paths. Drawing on secondary data analysis the chapter investigates the conflict occurring between climate change mitigation through hydropower and the protection of good water quality in the implementation of two EU directives: the Renewable Energy Directive (RES) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD). After a presentation of the evolving policy and regulatory context around hydropower, the paper explores the link between energy-climate-water-sustainability and addresses the trade-offs, synergies and opportunities for policy integration and coherence. The analysis reveals that while synergies between climate and energy are straightforward and clearly stated at the EU level, and that it is possible to track this co-ordination between water and biodiversity, challenges persist in relation to the link between the Climate and renewable energy package and the Water Framework Directive.


Sustainability Policy coherence Water framework directive Renewable energy Hydropower 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Economics and Technology ManagementNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway

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