Background and challenges
While hydropower is the most widely used renewable energy in France today, work on the facilities (dams, reservoirs, tunnels, penstocks, etc.) used to produce this energy can have an impact on the ecosystem in which they are located. To ensure that the effects of dam upkeep and maintenance operations are as undesirable as possible, EDF has an integrated engineering department dedicated to the environment, which assesses the risks in terms of regulations (environmental and energy codes) and the environment (displacement or destruction of animal and plant species, modification or loss of natural habitats, etc.).
Against this backdrop, between 2007 and 2011, EDF launched the SuPerHydro (Sureté et Performance de l’Hydraulique) program for the large-scale renovation of its hydroelectric generating fleet. The Group needed reinforcements and selected SEGULA Technologies to support its “Environment” department. SEGULA Technologies’ Energy Division therefore delegated two permanent environmental engineers to carry out this mission for EDF and the following projects.
- The SuPerHydro program was a major project, requiring additional resources from EDF to assess the risks associated with work on dams and to prepare the associated regulatory files.
- Dam renovations are subject to work authorizations, which require the agreement of local authorities and stakeholders such as river contracts and nature protection associations.
- In particular, EDF needs to carry out inventories of the aquatic environment (fish, invertebrates, sediment sampling, etc.) and the terrestrial environment (habitats, fauna, flora) around the dams, in order to produce spatial representations of the terrain, gain knowledge of the ecosystems and be able to assess the environmental sensitivities of the site, as well as the impacts and risks of the work on the environments.
- The acquisition of specific field data requires the drafting of specifications for services to be provided by specialist consultancies.
- Field analyses to anticipate precautions to be taken prior to construction work
- At the end of the SuPerHydro program, the need to take account of the environment and changes in dam maintenance and renovation regulations continued, prompting EDF to renew its framework contract with SEGULA Technologies, providing assistance with operational skills.