Financing sustainable hydropower in Sweden

The Hydroelectric Environmental Fund

Swedish hydropower is going to be modernized, in order to acheive the greatest possible benefit for both the environment and national access to electricity. Owners of hydropower plants can receive financial grants from Vattenkraftens Miljöfond (The Hydroelectric Environmental Fund) to adapt their power plants, enabling them to continue to produce renewable energy with less impact on the environment.

Improving Swedish hydropower

A national strategy for improving the ecological status in Swedish waters – without compromising the need for fossil free energy production – was in 2014 suggested by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management along with the National Energy Agency.

The national strategy led to a change in legislation which requires hydropower plants to fulfill modern environmental conditions.

In 2019 the new legislation was introduced, followed by a national plan for revision of hydropower plant licenses. The national plan is to be carried out over the timespan of 20 years, and will ensure that hydropower plants in Sweden follows the legislation.

Financed by the power sector

The Hydroelectric Environmental Fund is founded and financed by nine Swedish energy companies, in order to enable the national strategy to be implemented in practice.

Together, these nine companies have entrusted us with 10 billion SEK – the largest environmental investment in Swedish waters ever made. The funds will be distributed to hydropower plant operators through out the following 20 years. Our ambition is to adapt all Swedish hydropower in order to fulfill modern environmental conditions within this time frame, resulting in healthier waters and long-term sustainable ecosystems.

To adapt a hydropower plant to the new legislation will in many cases be costly and resource-consuming for the powerplant operators. Therefore, powerplants accepted into the national plan will be able to apply for financial aid from The Hydroelectric Environmental Fund. We will fund up to 85 % of the costs for the license revision in court, and for implementing the environmental adaptions required to fulfill modern environmental conditions.

More information on the national strategy can be found here.