April 08, 2014

Lively discussions at ETIA Talks II on “Hydropower(ed) Future”

The Festsaal of the Diplomatic Academy was filled once again for the 2ndETIA Talks event that took place on 20th March 2014. ETIA Talks, an annual discussion panel series, aims to explore issues of relevance in the fields of energy, environment, related technologies and how these are interwoven with politics, law, economics and international relations. The second panel discussion addressed the topic of the sustainability of hydropower and it's implications as a reliable energy source.

In a lively exchange with the audience, the panel consisting of Dr.Werner Schmied (OeKB), Ulrich Eichelmann (River Watch), Bernhard Möstl (E.ON), and moderated by Prof. Eduard Doujak (TU Vienna), started by addressing the role of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol 2010 (HSAP) and got quickly side-tracked to questions concerning whether making the construction phase of hydropower projects sustainable would be enough to make hydropower an acceptable energy source. The controversy of the evening consisted in the idea whether reducing energy demand and following the principle of de-growth could compete with finding any alternative that would be as good in storing energy as hydropower. However, a general consensus was found among the panelists that the smaller hydropower projects were the way to go in the future, rather than extensive and high impacting projects. The talk gave a lot of new input and left it open to each one to decide for himself/herself whether hydropower is indeed the 'green' energy source that it is touted to be.

The hour and a half long panel discussion was polemical and informative with diverse and interesting view points posed by the panel as well as the audience members. The evening was followed up by more conversation over drinks and a buffet. All in all the event was successful in raising awareness of the topic and bringing together a range of viewpoints from many different perspectives - which is one of the main goals of ETIA Talks.

The closing panel discussion of the season will take place on 24th of April, and will evaluate whether smart grids, which are modern electrical grids gathering information to improve the efficiency and reliability of electricity distribution, are the next steps in the future of energy supply.

To learn more about ETIA Talks and register for an event please visit www.etiatalks.com

(Aditi Ramola, ETIA06 class speaker)

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