Author(s): Carl Robert Kriewitz-Byun; Jeffrey A. Tuhtan; Gert Toming; Ismail Albayrak; Stephan Kammerer; David Vetsch; Armin Peter; Ulli Stoltz; Walter Gabl; Daniel Marbacher
Keywords: No Keywords
Abstract: Providing over 56% of the national electricity supply, hydropower plays the most important role in Swiss energy production. Its importance is justified both by the sheer amount of energy that is produced and by the ecological and economic advantages it presents. Not only is hydropower renewable, it can also supply base load energy through run-of-river power plants as well as peak load and power storage through pumped storage plants. The introduction of the revised Water Protection Act in January 2011 in Switzerland provided the fundament to further improve on the ecologic strengths hydropower offers by supporting operators to enhance the connectivity at hydro facilities. One important aspect of water body restoration is enabling or improving the up-and downstream migration of fish, which can be hindered by obstacles like sills, weirs, dams or hydro plants. The BKW Group (BKW) owns or operates within 14 catchment basins, which are in need of upstream migration improvements, 13 where downstream migration has to be addressed, 6 due for sediment management modifications and another 3 at which the effects of hydropeaking will have to be reduced. Since no generally accepted state-of-the-art measures for the implementation of safe downstream fish migration at large hydropower plants (HPP) have been developed yet, the group has been tasked to participate in the interdisciplinary research project “Fishfriendly Innovative Technologies for Hydropower” (FIThydro) to find new and innovative solutions on this subject. The project aims at finding cost-efficient solutions and strategies to mitigate unfavourable ecological effects of hydropower and to support the development of self-sustainable fish populations. The project is funded by the Horizon2020 framework programme of the European Union. The FIThydro consortium consists of 26 partners (13 research and 13 industrial) in 10 European countries. This article provides an overview on the BKW test case HPP Bannwil at the Aare River in Switzerland and describes the ongoing and planned research efforts.