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Special Issue "Hydropower and Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2017

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Knut Alfredsen

Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, S.P.Andersensvei 5, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +47-73594757
Interests: management of water resources; impacts of river regulations and mitigation measures; modelling hydrology and hydropower systems; cold climate processes in lakes and rivers
Guest Editor
Dr. Tor Haakon Bakken

SINTEF Energy Research, Sem Sælands vei 11, 7034 Trondheim, Norway
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +47-95156944
Interests: integrated water resources management; impacts from hydropower development and operations; assessment of hydropower sustainability; multi-purpose use of reservoirs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable development is a process of meeting present generation needs without compromising the needs of future generations. Sustainable development has at least three dimensions—environmental protection, and social and economic development. In this Special Issue, research papers should focus on the role of hydropower while addressing all three dimensions of sustainability, which asks for an inter-disciplinary perspective in all articles.

There has been a growing concern and interest in the hydropower sector the last 10 years over the industry’s ‘sustainable performance’, which includes the development of an industry protocol that defines what indicators and targets that should be reached in order to meet best practise for planning, construction and operation of hydropower projects. An important aspect of this is that the role of hydropower development with respect to its social and environmental performance must be assessed, and the potential social and environmental impacts and opportunities from a hydropower project must be seen in the lights of the benefits provided to the society as a whole. In particular, the multi-functional role of reservoirs in providing services such as flood protection, water for irrigation, secure drinking water supply and more are of interest for this special issue. More traditional studies on the environmental and social performance of hydropower projects are also welcome, but must be related to the full dimension of sustainable development. We would also underline that application of sustainability tools are welcome to the extent they follow scientific standards for research, i.e. the application itself is extensively evaluated and are discussed in the light of prior research within related fields of science. We would also encourage authors working on novel approaches, such as habitat off-setting and ecosystem services in regulated river basins, to submit articles for this Special Issue. Studies on climate change and the role of hydropower in fulfilling sustainability goals are very welcome.

Prof. Dr. Knut Alfredsen
Mr. Tor Haakon Bakken
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • The role of hydropower and reservoirs in s society services
  • The water-energy-food nexus
  • Integrated water resources management.
  • Evaluation of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol
  • Climate change and sustainable operation of hydropower
  • The role of hydropower and reservoirs in climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Green-house gas emission from reservoirs
  • Water consumption/water footprint
  • Sediment control and management
  • Ecosystem services and off-setting in regulated river basins
  • Governance of water resources in regulated river basins

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Impact of Hydroelectric Dam Development and Resettlement on the Natural and Social Capital of Rural Livelihoods in Bo Hon Village in Central Vietnam
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1422; doi:10.3390/su9081422
Received: 14 June 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 11 August 2017
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Abstract
The study examined the natural and social capital of Bo Hon villagers in central Vietnam, before and after resettlement within Binh Thanh commune due to the building of Binh Dien Hydroelectric dam on the Huu Trach River. (1) Background: The two-fold aim was
[...] Read more.
The study examined the natural and social capital of Bo Hon villagers in central Vietnam, before and after resettlement within Binh Thanh commune due to the building of Binh Dien Hydroelectric dam on the Huu Trach River. (1) Background: The two-fold aim was to develop solutions to the impacts of resettlement on natural and social capital, and strategies for timely intervention and new livelihoods after households were resettled. (2) Methods: Livelihood survey of all 46 households was conducted in 2010, and villagers were asked about 2004, before resettlement, and about 2009, when the occupants of Bo Hon village had been moved to a new location 15 km away from the original one. The research employed mixed-methods by using household surveys, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. The impacts of displacement and resettlement on production activities and daily life of rural people were examined in the following areas: (i) land resource; (ii) access to common-pool natural resources; (iii) income structure; (iv) agriculturally based livelihoods; (v) material assets; (vi) customary practices; and (vii) social relationships. (3) Results: The most significant impact was on the type of production activities that could be conducted after resettlement and reduction in land area to grow profitable commodities such as Lồ Ô Bamboo. Specifically, land for growing rice and other crops were significantly affected with the land area substantially reduced or flooded. Also harvesting of common pool resources from the forest (NTFPs) were reduced such as honey and rattan, and only 25% of the villagers continued to fish in the river. (4) Conclusions: Strategies were put in place to reduce the level of disruption to the villagers’ livelihoods, but some parts of the compensation package were short-lived or inequitably distributed (e.g., land), while infrastructure developments such as sealed roads have made the village far more accessible to Hue City some 25 km away. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Accelerating Sustainability by Hydropower Development in China: The Story of HydroLancang
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1305; doi:10.3390/su9081305
Received: 27 May 2017 / Revised: 12 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
Sustainable development is a shared responsibility. Accelerating sustainability of water–energy–people nexus and building a common awareness of issues pertaining to sustainable development are essential for any sort of success in this direction. Hydropower has been a useful sustainable energy for development, yet highly
[...] Read more.
Sustainable development is a shared responsibility. Accelerating sustainability of water–energy–people nexus and building a common awareness of issues pertaining to sustainable development are essential for any sort of success in this direction. Hydropower has been a useful sustainable energy for development, yet highly controversial. This paper reviews the overall situation of hydropower development and China’s energy reforms and policies, accompanied with a case study of hydropower development the Lancang River by the HydroLancang, aiming to illustrate the two opposite sides of hydropower development—economy and environment. The paper concludes with a neutral view of hydropower as the necessary facilitator for development. Water is a shared responsibility. Hydropower might not be the optimum solution to eliminate the tension between human demand of energy and finite natural resource and the rising pressure of climate change worldwide, but it serves well as an “Electricity Bridge” before better alternatives become available. This is a more balanced view of hydropower rather than two extreme viewpoints that present themselves: on the one hand, exaggerated claims of the human power to tame the wild river, and, on the other hand, the idealistic fantasy of preserving nature by abandoning all human activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Whose Hydropower? From Conflictual Management into an Era of Reconciling Environmental Concerns; a Retake of Hydropower Governance towards Win-Win Solutions?
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1262; doi:10.3390/su9071262
Received: 15 April 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 18 July 2017
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Abstract
Hydropower has been core in the nation-building process of several countries. This includes Sweden in which it currently supplies around 50% of the electricity and particularly Norway where almost all electricity is generated from hydropower. In these countries, as well as many others,
[...] Read more.
Hydropower has been core in the nation-building process of several countries. This includes Sweden in which it currently supplies around 50% of the electricity and particularly Norway where almost all electricity is generated from hydropower. In these countries, as well as many others, the provision of hydroelectricity enabled urban and rural development, industrialization and other core value-added activities. However, it was realized with significant environmental costs, particularly at the local level. Traditionally, there has been a divide in perceptions on hydropower production, in which stakeholders tend to box it either as an environmental hazard or as a socio-economic benefit. During the last century, these diverging perspectives have influenced political and regulatory approaches as well as the perceived role of hydropower at large. Different attempts to bridge this divide have been made. This is not least true in the present day, considering the role of hydropower as a low-carbon solution, and a balancing source to counter increased intermittency from new renewables into the energy system. These features of contributing to the global good of mitigating climate change need to be assessed against the potential negative environmental consequences on biological diversity, outdoor recreation and landscape perceptions at large. These concerns triggered social mobilization and even became instrumental in establishing environmental NGOs with the core focus of fighting hydropower projects. Contrasting and often conflicting opinions are still prevailing, as exemplified with the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). However, there are current signs and new knowledge available suggesting that we are moving into a new era of hydropower governance. A potential reconciliation of contrasting perceptions is pending, but there is strong inertia to change. We argue that the understanding of past political modes and regulatory approaches are essential to develop more sustainable hydropower governance systems fit for future societal and environmental needs. We currently have the benefit of drawing on lessons learned. This provides an opportunity to shape new governance systems that are more balanced in a way not experienced before. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Small Scale Hydroelectric Power Plants in Norway. Some Microeconomic and Environmental Considerations
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1117; doi:10.3390/su9071117
Received: 24 April 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract
The development of small-scale hydroelectric power plants in Norway is determined by natural conditions, policies, attitudes and property rights. The owner of the river is the central decision maker. It is he/she who decides whether he/she will develop the power plant himself/herself, whether
[...] Read more.
The development of small-scale hydroelectric power plants in Norway is determined by natural conditions, policies, attitudes and property rights. The owner of the river is the central decision maker. It is he/she who decides whether he/she will develop the power plant himself/herself, whether he/he wants to enter into a contract with an external investor and let him/her develop the power plant, whether he/she will sell his/her property rights or postpone the decisions. All available choices will involve risk. In order for him/her to make the best choice, he/she must find the certainty equivalent to each of the choices and choose the one with the highest certainty equivalent. To find the certainty equivalent, we use the utility theory of John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. The owner of the river makes the decision that gives him/her the greatest utility when both economic and non-economic effects are assessed within the opportunity set made by the local and the central authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower and Sustainability)

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