The report also discusses the degree of policy coherence of the present and foreseeable outcomes of the two directives in Sweden in relation to hydropower. The final part offers suggestions of feasible policy alternatives for a more effective and synergetic implementation of the goals of the directives, which would enable an increase in both renewable energy production and an improved aquatic environment.

The main results indicate that the actions and strategies of both operators and authorities within the current judicial and administrative setup have led to a situation of high distrust and conflict between the actors involved. The main implication of this is that the Swedish concession system is currently working in such a way that neither the full potential of efficiency gains from hydropower refurbishments to reach the RES targets is attained, nor is it likely that the concession system will be able to accommodate significant changes to hydropower stations and dams that could be required from the implementation of the WFD within the set timeframe.

Conclusions and policy suggestions

– There is an important window of opportunity for win-win solutions thanks to the extensive refurbishment that is currently taking place in Swedish hydropower facilities.
– Without a change to the incentives of the actors in the current concession system this opportunity for win-win solutions could be lost.
– It is possible to create a more efficient and competition-neutral system by creating an environmental compensation scheme that would cover the cost of biodiversity and water status improvement measures in connection to hydropower plants. Such a scheme would significantly improve the possibilities of reaching win-win solutions and take a more holistic approach in concession trial processes.

Download the project report (PDF: 4.33MB)