Hydropower in Europe is playing an increasingly important role as a renewable source of energy. Its share of the final energy consumption varies from country to country, posing different challenges in each. The European Union member states are obliged, according to energy policy, to increase the share of renewable energy. This article presents the challenges related to the development of hydropower in four countries with different shares of domestic electricity production from hydropower plants: Albania (100% share in 2019), Slovenia (25.7%), Poland (1.1%), and Estonia (0.3%). Particular attention is paid to the issues of rational management of water resources in connection to Europe’s energy policy. As a result of the case study analysis, the challenges in the development of hydropower are identified, as well as ways to solve them. In addition, a comprehensive analysis of the impact of social, economic, environmental and climate change factors on the development of hydropower was conducted. At present, whether the assumed goals of the European Union’s energy policy will be achieved is impossible to determine for the whole of Europe. Achieving these goals will be possible only after individual countries prepare comprehensive reports on the topics of renewable energy sources, including hydropower.
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