Hydropower must be environmentally tested again

15 December, 2023

The electricity crisis caused the government to stop environmental testing of hydropower.

In the new Tidö agreement, the stoppage is postponed for two months, but after that the trials must be resumed.

The Laforsen hydropower plant outside Kårböle. The water is part of the river Ljusnan. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT Archive image .

In the Tidö agreement between the government and the Sweden Democrats, it was established that all environmental tests of hydropower would be postponed for twelve months, until 1 February 2024.

The reason was the electricity crisis that hung over Sweden with the risk of disconnection.

Now, in negotiations, the parties have agreed to postpone the environmental tests for another two months, until April 1, 2024, but then they are to be resumed. This has been written into the updated version of the Tidö Agreement.

The government has had authorities such as Svenska kraftnät analyze what a halt in hydropower production would mean for the electricity system.

That analysis is complete, but the Government Office needs more time to ensure that the “necessary environmental adaptation” of hydropower affects the electricity system as little as possible in relation to the environmental benefit, according to a document that TT has seen. This spring, a new set of regulations will be in place for how the trials will be conducted.

Many hydropower plants and dams in Sweden are old, a large part was built in the 1950s and 1960s when the same environmental considerations were not taken as today. Only a very small number have been permitted tested or retested in the last 40 years.

Text: Niklas Svahn/TT
Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

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