Project

Back to overview

Sustainability assessment of hydropower projects based on stakeholder perspectives: Definition and interconnection evaluation of criteria for an Icelandic case study.

Applicant Voegeli Guillaume
Number 174767
Funding scheme Doc.Mobility
Research institution Dep. of Sport Science & Physical Education School of Science and Engineering Reykjavik University
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.01.2018 - 31.07.2018
Show all

All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Political science

Keywords (10)

Sustainability assessment; Perception; Iceland; Stakeholders; Hydropower; Hydroelectricity; Semi-structured interviews; Delphi; Impacts; Holistic approach

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Au cours des dernières décennies, le concept de développement durable et la promotion des formes d’énergies renouvelables sont devenus des principes directeurs pour de nombreux décideurs politiques à travers le monde. Dans ce cadre, l’hydroélectricité est d’un intérêt tout particulier. Largement considérée comme une ressource renouvelable, elle joue déjà un rôle majeur pour l’approvisionnement énergétique de nombreux pays. En revanche, la construction et l’exploitation de tels ouvrages sont une source majeure d’impacts environnementaux, sociaux et économiques. Affectant en premier lieu les populations locales, il est nécessaire d’intégrer leur perspective pour permettre une évaluation de la durabilité des ouvrages. Dans ce cadre, l’Islande, dont la majeure partie de l’électricité est d’origine hydraulique, offre un cadre d’étude privilégié.
Lay summary

En se basant sur les perceptions des acteurs de la scène hydroélectrique et des individus concernés, ce projet vise en premier lieu à (1) évaluer la pertinence des critères et indicateurs présents dans la littérature scientifique pour évaluer la durabilité de projets hydroélectriques, (2) étudier la perception des rapports de cause à effets entre les critères évalués et (3) estimer l’importance relative qu’accordent ces acteurs à chacun des critères et indicateurs évalués. Il s’agira dans un second temps d’évaluer les principaux conflits d’intérêts entre les perceptions des acteurs et comparés les différents cas d’études. Utilisant principalement des techniques d’entretiens semi-directifs et des questionnaires, cette recherche intègre tant les perspectives des représentants de compagnies de productions, des décideurs politiques locaux, des communautés concernées, des associations d’intérêts et représentatives et des milieux académiques. 

Durant ces dernières décennies, l’Islande a poursuivi une politique de promotion d’une industrie largement énergivore, débouchant sur la construction et l’exploitation d’un nombre croissant d’installations hydroélectriques. Ceci s’est également fait au détriment d’autres intérêts. Cette étude permettra de mettre en lumière les conflits d’intérêts dans le domaine élargie de l’hydroélectricité. Elle fournira également des résultats robustes aux décideurs politiques en leur permettant d’adopter une approche holistique. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.09.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Icelandic School of Energy (ISE) - Reykavik University Iceland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Sustainability Assessment of Hydropower - The case of Hvammsvirkjun: An investigation of experts and stakeholders perceptions Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 24.07.2018 Reykjavik, Islande, Switzerland Voegeli Guillaume;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
154004 Regional Impact Analysis and Sustainability Assessment of Hydropower 01.12.2014 NRP 70 Energy Turnaround

Abstract

Sustainability assessment (SA) has become a key decision making tool in the most recent decades all around the world. Curiously enough, there is currently no consensus of the scientific community to define the nature of SA and the manner it should be applied. However, despite this lack of consensus, a large number of scholars require further inclusion of stakeholder and recognition of importance of context in the process of assessing sustainability. Hydropower is still increasing worldwide, both in terms of installed capacity and energy produced. One specific type of this technology is called storage hydropower plant (SHPP), and is able to provide a large range of services. Some power services support the development of other renewable but intermittent power technologies. As such, SHPP is expected to continue to play a major role in the energy system in the coming decades. However, SHPP systems also involve a series of impacts ensuing from social, environmental and economic aspects. To be able to assess all those impacts from a sustainability perspective requires an integrated approach. Such approaches regarding hydropower assessment are largely overlooked in the scientific literature, with most of the studies focusing on one or two dimensions of sustainability. Institutions such as the UN or IHA have developed some frameworks and guidelines to assess the sustainability of energy and hydropower systems. However, such framework have shown substantial limits to be applied at the project level.A few studies have focused on SA, stakeholder integration and energy systems. They provide innovative stakeholder integrative approaches and methods. For instance, confrontation of theoretical frame with experts interviews or Delphi methods, results analysis with causal mapping and stakeholder value assessment with Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) have proved relevant in the assessment of complex and miscellaneous impacts resulting from energy systems. Moreover, they can be applied at the project scale.The research firstly aims to define relevant criteria for SA of SHPP projects in Iceland, in order to test the existing scientific knowledge in the specific area of hydropower. It will be based on the identification and interviews of relevant stakeholders. In the same process, a second central objective is to evaluate the existing interconnection between every identified criteria. Based on a system perspective, this is expected to support a global and holistic perspective on SHPP impacts. Identification of mitigation, compensation impacts and inherent causal relationships is expected to be facilitated. The third objective is to evaluate the relative importance of each criteria for the relevant people. Still in development, the method will largely be based on AHP and Delphi methods. The research is expected to take seven months to be realized. The reason to choose Iceland is motivated by its very specific characteristic, as to know an isolated system and largely hydro-dependent country with existing potential for further development. Moreover, the Reykjavik University benefits from an internationally recognized competence centre in sustainable energy, which will provide me with required and valuable support.Overall, the research is expected to provide innovative insights regarding the specific assessment of hydropower projects from a sustainability perspective. As they should be specifically developed for other application, such methods are increasingly required in the current international context. This project should therefore contribute to its scale to a largely understudied field of research.
-