As part of the EU co-funded RESTOR Hydro programme, European hydropower representatives have published a first-ever guidebook on how to establish a small hydropower (SHP) cooperative
The publication offers a step-by-step guide on how to refurbish an estimated 250,000 old water mills, weirs and inoperative SHP stations located in EU member states.
The aim of the booklet is to bring hydropower closer to the people by showing them the technology, the benefits it can bring and how it can contribute to the EU’s 2020 energy targets.
“One of the main barriers the project addresses is the financing aspects: SHP sites are often too small to be ‘bankable’” said Dirk Hendricks, Secretary General of the European Small Hydropower Association (ESHA). “The solution proposed by this publication is to gather several SHP sites within one region and to fund the costs to exploit them through a local cooperative. Local citizens will be offered a share of the project with co-ownership.”
The publication is aimed at anyone with basic entrepreneurial skills who are seeking micro hydropower potential and are willing to tap into this through a community-driven model. It will be available in French, Italian, Lithuanian, Swedish, Polish, Greek and Slovenian over forthcoming months.
The European Small Hydropower Association (ESHA) is the coordinator of the RESTOR Hydro project which runs from June 2011 until May 2015. RESTOR Hydro is a European project aiming at increasing renewable energy production from small and micro hydropower, by identifying and restoring suitable historical sites, mills and hydropower stations that are currently inoperative.