The frightening future for wild fish - small scale hydro power-plants

Will all small rivers and creeks in the future be destroyed and our wild fish and other animals in this habitat disappear? Today there are 430 applies for building small scale hydro power-plants, now being considered by the department of NVE ( Norway 's Water- and Electricity department). Small scale hydro power-plants are plants with installed possibility of producing between 1 and 10 MW. These plants
are placed in small rivers and big creeks; the spawning ground of wild fish. And foreign EU investors are lining up to participate in the exploitation!
On the bright side, with NVE's capacity, it will take 6 years to consider the applies..

The interests of foreign investors are of course due to high energy prices and the prospect to make money. Also foreign companies with own unwanted production of CO2, can buy free of this with other compensated production of CO2 free power!
In Germany , companies can buy quota from own CO2 free production to reduce the cost of emitting CO2 in other divisions of the company.
Today there are companies from Germany , Holland , Denmark and Iceland already present as investors in the exploitation.



The fact is that it would be much better both environmental and energy wise to invest in the upgrading of existing big power plants than building these small plants. Many big plants were built in the 60- and 70ties, and today both generators and turbines are much more effective. The upgrade of these big plants would increase the total production in Norway by 30%!

Politicians in their short-sightedness, are instead pushing small plants because of the riparian owners chance then to make money, when income from traditional farming and forestry are fading. The plants are built small, but still it's a big investment for the landowner to build it by themselves. They usually can't afford this and join in cooperation with national or foreign investment companies. Then also, most of the income are not returned to landowner, but the part with the highest risk; the investment companies.



Why are these small plants so bad then?

If money where invested in upgraded of existing big plants, there would be no environmental effect; the plants are already there. Then they are just more effective.
Small plants exploit rivers and creeks never touched before.



Big power plants are obliged to an environmental considered minimum water flow, while small plants have to use all water in the small river and lengths of river are left dry. Not difficult to foresee the consequence for life in the river!

There are no fixed criteria for assessments of environmental consequences for the whole water system, when building the small plants. If the river in question is a small but important tributary for spawning of trout and grayling, the exploitation of this river would be devastating for all wild fish in the water system.

Small hydro power plants will not only effect the river when it comes to water flow, but also effects the speed of flow, the water temperature, icing in winter and local climate. There are so many examples of the effect on population of wild fish and the population of other river life, that there is no doubt what would happen if all these
power plants were to be built.

On one hand Norway is promoting wilderness tourism with “untouched” rivers and good fly fishing. On the other, short-sighted politician are pushing the business of exploiting all the small and beautiful rivers left!

It's time to join in a campaign to stop this!
A fly fisherman has a special bond to nature and his sport, acting as a steward of the environment!
To help us in Norway , the best way is to inform the opinion and stop the investment companies present in you home country.

Geir Kjensmo

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