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Fishfriendly Innovative Technologies for Hydropower

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FIThydro (Fishfriendly Innovative Technologies for Hydropower)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

The European Water Framework Directive seeks to improve the conditions of waterbodies defined by chemical, physical and biological parameters to a good status, while the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework seeks to increase the share of renewable energy sources such as hydropower. FIThydro aims at mitigating negative effects of hydropower plants (HPP) on the environment and on fish populations, and investigates the cost-efficiency of mitigation measures. Developing innovative solutions, methods, tools and devices that may contribute to a sustainable development of hydropower is paramount, since hydropower is expected to be a strong vector in the development of the renewable energy mix concept. Environmentally-friendly and sustainable hydropower supports the development of healthy rivers and self-sustaining fish populations while supplementing and balancing other renewable energy sources. Sustainable solutions developed in FIThydro, therefore, not only concern electric power companies but also political authorities and society. FIThydro aims at maintaining or even increasing sustainable hydropower production through cost-effective mitigation strategies and generates knowledge on the behaviour and reaction of fish to hydropower threats, thus securing waterbodies to be in a “good state” for future generations. It also deals with the acceptance of hydropower by societal actors as well as with the view of specific stakeholders on key open issues related to the planning of mitigation options for hydropower structures. FIThydro raises the technical readiness level of a few innovations, such as fish protection and guidance systems during turbine passage, a 3D fish-tracking device, a Barotrauma Detection system (BDS) for predicting mortality risks in turbines or a lateral line probe (LLP). Decision making in commissioning and operating HPPs, guidance to support mitigation measures, the view of key stakeholders and the public acceptance of hydropower plants are also addressed in FIThydro.
The following activities have been completed:
• Compilation of a database of life history traits of European freshwater fish and lamprey species related to resilience against human induced mortality feeding into a sensitivity classification system of European freshwater fishes and lampreys
• Development of an Innovative Toolbox to assess spawning ground quality of important target species was developed (for classification of river stretches, hydromorphology, sediment management and quantification of HPP influence on fish)
• Development of the Fish Hazard Index to assess the risk of existing or planned HPPs to fishes
• Surveys on upstream and downstream migration measures, turbines, hydromorphology, hydropeaking, E-flows, fish characterization and habitat were conducted
• Different mitigation measures have been tested at the test cases and their efficiency and limitations were identified
• A list of solutions, models, tools and devices, their application range, the knowledge gaps and the recommendations to fill these have been provided
• The agent based fish migration model to assess migration habitats for grayling and barbel was performed
• Research on artificial velocity refuges to mitigate the physiological and behavioral consequences of hydropeaking on a freshwater Iberian cyprinid in a laboratory flume was concluded. A lunker was developed and installed in Bragado test case
• Fish protection and guidance structures were developed and tested. Live-fish tests were completed. Energy loss equations were completed
• The FIThydro Hydropeaking Tool (FHT) was developed for grayling and Iberian cyprinids. FHT is applied to Bragado and GKI test cases
• LLP data processing and methods for post-processing were completed using artificial intelligence
• Design, construction and deployment of BDS were completed and recordings have been compared with computations and observed mortalities
• 3D fish tracking system has been built, calibrated and successfully used in live-fish tests
• Live-fish experiments with barbels, spirlin, nase salmon parr and trout at the Curved-Bar Rack (CBR) and the Horizontal Bar Rack (HBR) were completed
• The calibration and validation of the numerical models (2D and 3D) developed for several test cases and numerical simulations were performed
• Input all information about different mitigation measures into a prototype wiki. Suitable methods, tools and devices to be used during planning, implementation and monitoring/maintenance of measures are also included in the wiki.
• Description of 42 different methods, tools and devices and various mitigation measures were included in the prototype wiki
• Costs of planning, implementing and maintaining mitigation measures have been collected using literature review and questionnaires from all FIThydro partners as well as some external hydropower companies
• Scenario modelling using Bayesian Networks has been done for Las Rives, being prepared (Anundsjö) and just started (Guma)
• Matrices for combination of measures and ranking their suitability for solving challenges are developed
• A review of policies and financing instruments in selected European countries was done to identify opportunities, barriers and challenges for the planning and operation of hydropower power plants
• Execution of four regional stakeholders workshops to collect feedback from stakeholders on major issues, key problems and open questions relevant to the assessment and planning of fish-friendly hydropower production
• Execution of public acceptance surveys of hydropower using social science methods in four countries and analysis of survey data
• Preparation of Decision Support System (DSS) question catalogue and risk scoring system for key types of hydropower impacts. Development of a prototype web-tool for the DSS and links to the FIThydro wiki
• Review of factors that influence the market uptake of innovative systems, methods, tools and devices (
• Fish Population Hazard Index and a Cumulative Impact Assessment tool, improving environmental assessment of the impacts of HPPs and deriving efficient mitigation measures
• Cost of the state of the art and on innovative mitigation measures and their applicability
• Set of new or improved SMTDs to increase environmental friendliness of hydropower production representing a societal benefit (potential to be patented and increase revenues)
• Framework for cost-effective measures making evaluation and implementation of environmental mitigation measures more efficient (available to the wider public.)
• Assessment of the needs and expectations of stakeholders in terms of the key open issues and possible solutions for fish-friendly hydropower
• Assessment of public perceptions and preferences regarding hydropower, including a comparative analysis of potential acceptance factors in four European countries
• Development of a decision-support framework for the planning and application of mitigation options in hydropower plants
• Communication with and active involvement of stakeholders and realization of different dissemination activities to increase acceptance of hydropower in society
• Market screening and exploitation plans of SMTDs produced by the project
HPP Test case at the Iller river (source: flussbau iC Villach/Austria)
Lateral line probe testing (Source: Technical University Talinn)
Banwill HPP Depth averaged velocity analysis (Source: ETH Zurich