Blog: The European Union’s green recovery pathway

Environment ministers in the European Union met in an online video conference today to discuss the “green path” forward from the Covid-19 crisis.

On the agenda was a €750bn funding plan, proposed last month by the European Commission, of which a quarter targets climate and renewables programmes.

“Our aim is an economic recovery that directs investments to the green and digital transitions,” explained EU Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius. “This is the way to ensure that we keep to the green oath ‘do no harm’, and that we build back better.”

IHA welcomes Europe’s strong commitment to building a clean energy future with a bold and constructive green recovery strategy. We recently published a position paper on hydropower and Covid-19, designed to help policy-makers navigate the difficult decisions that lie ahead. We also joined with national hydropower associations calling on governments to invest in sustainable hydropower.

The EU Environmental Council’s meeting today, in advance of discussions between the EU’s 27 members, presents an opportunity: to put sustainable hydropower at the heart of building back better.

It comes after the International Energy Agency (IEA) earlier this month released its Sustainable Recovery Plan, highlighting the important role of hydropower in green stimulus plans. The IEA points to hydropower modernisation projects as prime candidates for short-term investment in the hydropower sector.

Sustainable hydropower development not only supports energy systems, but also creates tens of thousands of jobs and aligns well with longer term green financing and greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement plans.

With much of Europe’s hydropower capacity ageing and requiring renewal, the timing could not be better.

IHA is now working with partners in Europe on the multi-partner XFLEX HYDRO initiative – to make hydropower the most efficient and flexible renewable power source in the world, in line with the 2030 decarbonisation agenda.

Please share your thoughts in IHA's Clean Energy Systems Knowledge Network and our Europe region group in Hydropower Pro, our online community

About the author

David Samuel joined IHA in October 2017. His work focuses on building and sharing knowledge on global hydropower, working on topics such as plant modernisation and regional interconnection.

Before joining IHA, David worked for almost four years as development engineer at a global engineering consultancy, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, in thermal power generation, and spent a year at Highview Power Storage. David previously completed a traineeship at the European Investment Bank (EIB) and holds a master's degree from the UCL Energy Institute.

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