Costs of solutions
One of the goals of the FIThydro project is to determine the financial costs of implementing ecological mitigation measures (solutions). During the project, costs associated with mitigation according to the categories of habitat, fish migration, sediment and flow were collected by consulting FIThydro partners via a questionnaire, examining the latest peer-reviewed literature, directly contacting European operators within the FIThydro network and using publically-available reports (Austria: Österreichs E-Wirtschaft, France: Hydro Electricité, Sweden: Vattenfall).
The following table represents a summary of the results of the cost data obtained for the Deliverable 4.3 General Cost Figures for Relevant Solutions, Methods, Tools and Devices. The detailed report with all results can be accessed via https://www.fithydro.eu/deliverables-tech/ (D4.3). The table is intended to provide a general impression of the cost dimensions for mitigation measures. The values should therefore be interpreted as the ranges of costs for measures, rather than precise costs. The range estimates are based on case studies from different regions (Europe, North America and Australia). The costs from different regions have been converted to EUR using the average 2010-2019 exchange rate (0.82 for USD/EUR and 1.46 for AUD/EUR). Since there was limited information on what each case study included in the costs (planning, construction, monitoring, etc.), the costs are assumed to account for the entire project – unless otherwise specified. The values have been rounded based on expert judgement for improved readability. Minimum costs were rounded down and maximum costs were rounded up to the following increments: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 150, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 150000, 100000, 1000000. If only one value is provided, the cost estimate is based on a single case study. This table does not imply any claim to completeness or freedom from error.
Cost data is available on upstream fish migration and habitat measures, whereas data for environmental flow and sediment management is limited. In general, there are two types of costs associated with fish migration facilities, (i) the costs of the structure itself (concrete or nature-like) and (ii) the discharge to run the facility. While the costs of the structure are tangible, the costs associated with flow releases and sediment management depend on several factors. In addition to structural requirements, cost calculations for flow release and sediment management must consider dynamic processes (water regulation and release) as well as long-term adaptive management. Further, these measures are strongly linked to production losses, which can vary (sometimes hourly) based on power prices on the open power market.
As there are no legal requirements or standards for reporting (either publically or privately) the costs of mitigation, the overall data situation is considered poor. A generalization of mitigation costs at hydropower plants is often challenging due to logistical, ecological and political factors. Available data differs greatly by measure type and is highly site-specific. The site-specific nature of hydropower also means that power plant owners face an array of ecological targets. To address multiple targets simultaneously and minimize expenses, operators tend to implement a combination of measures, which makes cost disaggregation for specific measures difficult (e.g., a natural fish pass supports fish migration as well as habitat provision). Thus, information about costs of specific mitigation measures are often difficult to obtain or unavailable. Furthermore, there is a high variability of costs and an inconsistency in reporting, which limits the comparison of costs across a larger number of studies (e.g. no specified information on land acquisition costs, legal costs, material costs, expenses for staff and renting machinery etc.).
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