Romanian micro hydro power plants – wrecking, not saving the environment

Romania’s micro hydro power plants in the Fagaras mountains have been included among the nine case studies of the most non-sustainable dams for the environment listed by World Wide Fund for Nature in the recent study Seven Sins on Dam Building. The Romanian micro hydro power plants share the list with dams on the rivers Devrekani in Turkey, Coosa in the US and Xingu in Brasil.

«Even if we’d like to have universally valid solutions, the study shows once again we cannot put the green label on any kind of energy. Even if the so called green energies have been gaining ground and political and financial support, playing the sustainability card, some projects not only undermine sustainability, but the medium and long term future too», – said Magor Csibi, director WWF-România. «Hydro energy can only be sustainable only by respecting local communities, nature and sustainable economy principles», – Magor Csibi added.

According to WWF, three years ago, two sites in the Fagaras mountains populated with species under threat, such as the otter, and several species of fish, were invaded by some 53 micro hydro power plants, destroying mountain rivers and these species and their habitats. Some of these micro hydro power plants are supported with European funding and get green certificates without any ecological criteria, supported only from tax payers’ money, according to WWF.

The negative impact of these power plants moves over to local communities as it affects the drinking water supply. Romania has over 430 micro hydro power plants in different stages of planning, authorization and construction, and over a quarter of them are in protected areas or close to them, according to WWF. The construction of some 300 of these power plants was already approved without any pre-planning, WWF went on.

«In breach of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Romanian laws, construction is seriously disrupting the riverbeds and threatening the longitudinal connectivity of the river, which negatively affects the water’s ecological status and ecosystem services», – the report underlines. The full report on the sins of dam building is here.

Adapted from Romania-Insider