Archive Content

Please note: This page has been archived and its content may no longer be up-to-date. This version of the page will remain live for reference purposes as we work to update the content across our website.

© Guido Trivellini
Ecological Hydropower
As the ‘water tower’ of Europe, it’s no surprise that hydroelectric power tops the list as one of the most important energy sources in the Alps.
To ensure that hydropower production has as little effect on the surrounding nature as possible, WWF is promoting eco-labeling schemes across the Alps. The idea is to support the construction of hydroelectric installations that do not majorly damage and alter the natural habitats and social elements of the affected rivers and lakes.

What We Do

The Problem

Increasing pressures from hydropower installations pose a major threat to the ecological integrity of freshwater systems.


France: WWF France helped develop the French eco-label EVE (Ecological Green Electricity) – a label guaranteeing that environmental and ecological criteria are satisfied by certified energy producers.

Switzerland: Naturemade Star is another quality mark – initiated and supported by WWF Switzerland – for identifying ecologically produced renewable energy. The ecological criteria employed by this label are some of the strictest in Europe.

Italy: The project CH2OICE – for which WWF Italy is an active partner – also developed a certification scheme that allows existing hydropower plants of ‘high environmental standard’ to be distinguished from those with a heavy ecological footprint.

Austria: In the eastern portion of the Alps, WWF is strongly involved in the development of an Austrian Hydropower-Criteria Catalogue, aiming to preserve valuable river stretches through limited future hydropower development. At the same time, WWF is fighting the most destructive hydropower projects and is promoting increased energy efficiency as an alternative to excessive hydropower development. WWF is also leading a project for a pan-alpine perspective on hydropower use.