Unique court in North Sweden could see hydropower stations closed

Christer Borg, from the environmental group Älvräddarna (
Christer Borg, from the environmental group Älvräddarna (“Stream Savers”). (Pernilla Anth Jacobsson/Sveriges Radio)
A unique court case in northern Sweden starting on Friday could decide the fate of many small waterpower stations.

Government agencies and the local council want to close a hydro station in an environmentally protected area. Environmentalists and anglers want it shut down because they say it is bad for the environment. The agencies agree, saying the dam has collapsed and is not in use, indicating the power company has not lived up to its responsibilities.

Never before has a hydro station right to a permit been proven in court.

The case is unique and has called for two experienced judges plus a government technical advisor. The decision could mean a precedent that would affect many other small waterpower stations in protected areas.

The Jämtkraft company is to have its permit considered in the local court of the northern city of Östersund.

The dam dates back 100 years. The agency driving the case is even older, being the Kammarkollegiet, set up by Gustav Vasa in 1539.

The power company says in a parallel court case that it plans to get the hydro station going again. Both cases are likely to taken to the appeals court, reports Swedish Radio’s local channel in Jämtland.

Related Links:

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Sweden:  Sweden shares top global energy ranking, Radio Sweden

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