Conclusion of WWF: small HPPs do damage to Ukrainian ecology

Висновок WWF: малі ГЕС шкодять українській екології

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) urged Ukraine to adopt transparent and balanced state policy aimed at alternative power generation sources development, namely small hydroelectric power plant (up to 10 mW). The position of organization was published on its website on March 1.

WWF has examined the technological peculiarities of small HPP and concluded that they negatively affect the environment. “In recent years, large-scale and uncontrolled construction of such facilities results in extinction of unique species of fish and most aquatic organisms, river water quality degradation, changes in hydromorphological regimes, relictions. In some regions, this causes social tension and may lead to ecological catastrophe”, – WWF said.

According to WWF, most of small HPP projects, especially in mountain areas, are implemented and operated in violation of existing environmental and town-planning norms and rules. There is a significant pressure on local communities. Environmental impact assessment does not reflect the reality of the situation, environmental softeners and compensatory measures (habitat restoration, development of effective fish passing facilities, etc.) are not implemented as a part of small HPP projects.

Despite the negative impact of small HPPs on aquatic ecosystem, the state uses all possible means to promote their emergence, in particular reduced “green tariff” is applied. Though, WWF believes that such financial support in no way meets the environmental and social need.

“Ukrainian policy supporting the development of renewable energy resources shall cover country’s current power demand, shall protect the needs of future generations, and shall contribute to safe and healthy environment”, – Svitlana Matus, Coordinator for Environmental Conservation Policy of WWF in Ukraine, said.

For this very reason, WWF insists that further development of small HPPs in Ukraine is only possible if transparent and balanced state policy is adopted. It shall be aligned with national environmental and international laws. First of all, strategic and regulatory documents shall be developed at the state level, inclusive of environmental frameworks as to design, construction, and operation of small HPPs. All parties concerned, inclusive of scientists, NGOs, and business shall participate in the development of these documents.

Therefore, WWF calls upon relevant officials, politicians, public figures, and business representatives to collaborate to reach a common vision as to the future development of small hydropower in Ukraine.