Decision support for the ecological siting of Swiss small hydropower plants

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Small hydropower plants are controversial. On the one hand, hydropower plants are among the most ecological energy systems for supplying electricity in terms of conserving energy resources and pollutant emissions. On the other hand, hydropower plants are associated with encroachment on ecosystems. Especially in the context of nature conservation, the negative environmental impacts of CHP are often assessed to be higher than their benefits.

The research program Hydropower and Energy Switzerland (Swiss Federal Office of Energy) has commissioned Carbotech AG to develop a decision-making tool by the end of 2016, which provides a reliable estimate of the ecological significance of the construction and conversion of Swiss CHP with little effort. This instrument is not intended to represent a new assessment concept, but to bring together the knowledge and methods developed so far and, if necessary, to supplement it with qualitative expert statements. In addition, it should be applicable regardless of measurements and with little effort.

With Fuzzy Set Theory quantitative results for example from life cycle assessments are combined with qualitative statements and expert assessments in a transparent way. This also allows to consider different opinions and to include the blur. This mathematical method has already been used successfully in comparable projects of Carbotech. The modeling takes place in close cooperation with experts from research, environmental organizations and the public sector.


Bundesamt für Energie


2017, Start 2015