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Framework for Decision-Making Process in Granting Rights to Use Hydropower in the European Context

Energy Economics and Policy Research Group, Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva 1205, Switzerland
Center for Economic Policy Research, University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, Chur 7000, Switzerland
Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 94305, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(7), 930;
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Water Policy Collection)
PDF [1014 KB, uploaded 13 July 2018]


The European electricity landscape is facing an ambivalent situation between: (1) common market platforms; and (2) national and subnational jurisdictions, which impose their specific rules on energy sectors. This particularly affects hydropower, as the latter faces inequalities in the procedures needed for the attribution of water rights. Besides jurisdictional disparities, the European Union requires this attribution to follow competitive processes and the integration of sustainable development goals for energy projects, while other countries connected to the European grid such as Switzerland and Norway still know different procedures and requirements. Therefore, this article addresses concerns regarding the lack of harmonization of water regimes in Europe. Imposing a common jurisdiction to countries connected to the European grid would be politically very challenging. Our approach overcomes this challenge by proposing a process adaptable to specific local rules and allows a comparison of water rights attribution procedures. In this frame, we propose a nine-step process, based on three goals: (1) to enhance competitive access by ensuring the highest rent transfer related to water rights; (2) to prioritize projects closer to sustainability goals; and (3) to ensure the efficiency of the process itself. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydropower; water rights; Europe; decision support; sustainability; rent transfer hydropower; water rights; Europe; decision support; sustainability; rent transfer

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Voegeli, G.; Gaudard, L.; Romerio, F.; Hediger, W. Framework for Decision-Making Process in Granting Rights to Use Hydropower in the European Context. Water 2018, 10, 930.

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