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Overall, as the energy systems of European countries depend on energy produced via hydropower, we need to find ways to implement measures that mitigate ecological impacts with the least possible effect on energy production for existing and new hydropower plants.

Large-scale strategies for more sustainable hydropower are being developed. Examples include Sweden’s new National Plan for the revision of hydropower licenses in the next 20 years, including a Hydroelectric Environmental Fund for mitigation measures based on industry contributions (SWAM, 2019). Switzerland’s Water Protection Act set mitigation targets for hydropower by 2030, offering financing of mitigation measures via an electricity surcharge (Kampa et al., 2017). Also, at transboundary level, Guiding Principles for Sustainable Hydropower Development have been developed for the international Danube Basin (ICPDR, 2013). At the same time, though, there is a worrying trend of development of many new hydropower plants especially in the Balkans and Turkey and a rising number of applications to develop small new hydropower plants across Europe.

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