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Support for the environmental impact of work on EDF hydraulic dams

As part of the SuPerHydro (Sureté et Performance de l'Hydraulique) program for the large-scale renovation of its hydroelectric generating fleet, the EDF Group called on SEGULA Technologies to support its "Environment" department. This collaboration has been developing since the start of the project in 2007, and is now reflected in the provision of two environmental engineers who are permanently supporting EDF in this project.

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 issues

  • 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.

"EDF has shown its satisfaction with our work, our responsiveness and our involvement. This is undoubtedly why our contracts have been renewed regularly for the past dozen years".

Sophie Morel – Environmental Engineer at SEGULA Technologies.

Our missions

  • Expression of need: pre-diagnosis of sensitivities in the field or on the basis of available data, and identification of possible solutions, with regard to regulations and periods of sensitivity of species to be avoided, for example.
  • Assistance in choosing solutions, taking into account site sensitivity, local species and seasons.
  • Consultation of specialized firms to acquire missing data and gain the best possible knowledge of the project’s impact. The aim is then to fine-tune solutions according to this new information.
  • Drafting of regulations, which are then forwarded to and examined by the authorities.
  • Assistance in answering questions during project appraisal.
  • Once the project has been approved, site supervision to ensure that the recommendations have been taken into account.


In figures

6 months to 5 years of work on hydroelectric schemes

200 projects supported since EDF and SEGULA Technologies began working together

Approximately 20 projects per year

5 to 6 files processed daily

1 seasonality: inventories are generally carried out from March to August, with deliveries from September to October.


Customer benefits

  • Support from SEGULA Technologies staff specifically trained and experienced in EDF’s environmental issues.
  • High availability and flexibility of the SEGULA Technologies team, particularly for last-minute projects and when EDF has a heavy workload.
  • Skills and knowledge developed over 10 years of partnership.
  • A high level of mutual trust