How environmentally friendly are small hydropower plants?

How environmentally friendly are small hydropower plants?


Schwaigerloh1 small hydroelectric power station: 160 kW with a head of 5.7 m
Pictured: Maria Earl

Climate Minister Habek no longer wants to support small hydropower plants. The damage caused by nature is not proportional to the amount of electricity produced. The workers are cynical. For them it is a piece of cultural history and family tradition.

Kleine hydropower – the term itself sounds so cute and natural that you really can’t have anything against it, right? Among her friends in Bavaria are Markus Söder, president of the CSU, and his deputy in the state government, Hubert Ewinger of the Free Voters Party. Both have recently missed an opportunity to recognize their small hydroelectric power, which is especially important for Bavaria. The reason: The intention of the Green Climate Minister, Robert Habeck, not to promote this type of electricity generation through the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

On the other hand, small hydropower representatives also mobilize, such as the Union of Hydroelectric Power Plants in Bavaria. Its president, Fritz Schweiger, together with his cousin Franz Schweiger, runs several small factories, four of which are in Oberding, an area on the border with Erdinger Moss. When we visit there, Schweiger immediately makes it clear that micro-hydropower is a very complex issue. Everything is connected to everything. However, in the end, he will present the “whole puzzle”. You will see “what is currently happening with hydropower is not entirely true”.

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