Assessing and valuing ecosystem services for managing hydropower constructed rivers systems - (ECORIVER)

Project description

Background and aims

Rivers developed for hydropower production are important part of electricity supply with increasing role as a balancing power source in energy systems worldwide. Regulated rivers provide also ecosystem services, such as habitats for migratory fish species and recreational opportunities. There are increasing demands to use regulated rivers for multiple purposes and new approaches are needed to support sustainable river management. We develop a new impact assessment method and examine the costs and benefits provided by regulated rivers in the context of European water policy. In particular, we quantify ecosystem services during short-term regulation practices. We examine the impacts of higher demand flexibility and increasing variable energy generation on hydropower production and estimate monetary values of the ecosystem services. Finally, the aforementioned factors are combined to conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis to support well-informed decision-making.


Ecoriver consists of four workpackages:

WP1 – Analysis of hydropeaking characteristics and hydrodynamic modelling

Research focus is especially on the impacts of within-day (sub-daily) flow variation in regulated rivers. Modelling the impacts is realized by 2D/3D computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models (River2D, MIKE3) to describe variation of flow and habitat conditions in various river reach types. Research areas are Rivers Kemijoki, Kalajoki and Kuusinkijoki. Lead by University of Oulu.

WP2 – Hydropower and energy markets

Finnish power market is modelled with high precision. Statistical models feed inputs to dynamic partial equilibrium supply-demand framework. Dynamic programming are utilized in solving the optimal hydropower allocation. Lead by University of Oulu.

WP3 – Environmental valuation

Preference method named discrete choice experiments (DCE) is used to analyse river users opinions. Econometric models are used for analyzing a DCE data. Lead by Luke.

WP4 – Integrated modelling and assessment of ecosystem services

Dynamic optimization model of hydropower (WP2) and uses water stock as a state variable. The water stock is linked to the hydrodynamic modelling (WP1) together with the expected changes in the fish community (WP3,e.g. Baltic Salmon dynamics model). Model includes economic welfare impacts of both hydropower and ecosystem services. Lead by Luke.

Project coordinator

University of Oulu