RE-HYDRO - Rethinking Hydropower Management: Safeguarding Biodiversity While Improving Climate Adaptation


RE-HYDRO is an Interreg Aurora project which brings hydropower management to the 21st century. Climate change is expected to lead to variation in both temperature and precipitation in the north, which challenges the current hydropower management patterns. At the same time hydropower is needed to regulate the ups and downs of other renewable energy production. RE-HYDRO addresses these challenges.


Merikosken vesivoimalaitos kuvattuna joen puolelta

Project information

Project duration


Funded by

European Structural and Investment Funds - INTERREG

Project funder

Interreg Aurora

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

Contact information

Project leader

Other persons

Project description

With climate change, temperature and precipitation are expected to increase in magnitude and variation in Finland and Sweden. This will increase floods and droughts, which have consequences for many sectors in the Nordic societies, including hydropower, forestry, fishery, and agriculture. The Nordic countries have committed themselves to decrease the use of fossil fuels, which will strengthen the role of hydropower also as a regulator of the energy system. As more and more energy is produced using renewable energy technologies, which rely heavily on favourable weather conditions, hydropower is needed level out the ups and downs of wind and solar energy production. Also, forestry and agriculture are expected to consume more water as temperatures are rising. At the same time their role in the green shift increases and as they contribute to improved food security.

These changes in bioeconomy and hydropower along with the direct effects of climate change will affect water systems in many ways that are not yet well understood. In RE-HYDRO these issues will be studied as Finnish-Swedish collaboration, which paves way for the hydropower management of the 21st century.

Project actions

The project activities have been divided into three work packages, which will lead towards the main outcomes of the project. The work packages are the following ones

1. Retrofitting and updating hydropower operations.

  • WP1 will focus on data collection, development of future scenarios, and model development at the catchment level and at individual hydropower sites. The partners will work with few hydropower case study sites in the programme area both in Finland and in Sweden.

2. Ecohydraulic analysis of seasonal variations in regulated rivers.

  • This work package aims to study the hydraulic conditions in the Arctic River systems during different seasons, the impact that climate change has on these conditions, and their influence on future hydropower operations (river regulation). Various tools will be used to evaluate changes and predict future needs in river management. The project will develop an integrated approach for assessing river processes and mesohabitat conditions, directly benefiting river and biodiversity management.

3. Assessing the social-cultural perception of the impacts caused by the hydropower operations

  • Hydropower has been criticized due to its cultural, social, and environmental adverse effects related to its extractive nature. In this WP, the societies' perspectives of hydropower will be systematically analysed and the cultural heritage of hydropower will be studied. This work will involve pilot cases from the programme area as well.