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Hydroelectric Use through Small and Micro-Hydropower Plants in Rheinland-Pfalz


Energy production from hydroelectric plants is controversial among naturalists and environmentalists. Hydropower is a renewable source of energy and maintains zero emissions during production. However, the construction of a hydropower plant creates a distinct change in the ecosystem and changes in water flow.

Requirements for the utilization of water


The BUND Rheinland-Pfalz has organized working groups covering water and energy policies. They have jointly set requirements on the use of water in small systems:

Prior to the promotion of alternative types of energy such as; solar, wind, biomass, etc…, a consorted effort to reduce energy consumption must be implemented.

1.    Hydroelectric plants already in operation should be tolerated, despite the ecological disturbances.

2.    New installations or repairs to existing facilities are not acceptable if a new barrage or dam wall is planned. Other new installations or repairs are to be tested on case-by-case basis.

3.    Extensions of existing plants should be approved based on environmental criteria. Only in exceptional cases, with critical examination, should the environment not have top priority.

4.    The reactivation of a plant requires an assessment carried out under the “water rights approval plan” process.

5.     In these singular cases, the following aspects are taken into account:
        •    The natural water flow is guaranteed
        •    Natural water structures are preserved
        •    Restoration of natural water structures should not be made impossible due to construction
        •    The migration of aquatic organisms and material are accounted for by the construction of fish ladders or bypass drifts, and the suction of fish and other organisms into the turbine is prevented by appropriate measures
        •    Plants with flood and recede operations are not acceptable
        •    For systems with fragmented water systems, runoff quantity can not drop below the natural minimum. This is defined by the following criteria: Compliance with the minimal water flow levels, conservation of natural discharge fluctuations, preservation of oxygen and temperature changes and preventing unnatural drying out of aquatic areas.  




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