Popular international course on sustainable hydropower development Publisert 24.03.2015 Environmental design is an important part of the curriculum when CEDREN-researchers teach European students in Sustainable Hydropower. Photo: Ånund Killingtveit / NTNU Last week 26 studens from 13 European countries participated in the ATHENS course “Sustainable Hydropower” in Trondheim. – They are the bright minds who will be working in the energy sector. It’s important that they understand the role of hydropower in the renewable society, says center director Atle Harby. The course is part of the European program ATHENS (Advanced Technology Higher Education Network/Sokrates). 14 leading European universities participate in ATHENS and offer one week long courses where students from other ATHENS-universities can participate. – There are several educational initiatives on renewable energy in Europe, but hardly anyone on hydropower. NTNU has a solid foundation to offer a course on this topic to the other universities, says Professor Ånund Killingtveit, who was responsible for the course. All the lecturers on the course are connected to CEDREN, and the environmental design concept is fundamental regardless of whether it is technology, planning, environment or society that is on the agenda. – This is the modern way of thinking, says Harby. One day during the week was devoted to “hydropower and the environment”, where Harby focused on solutions to maintain both the environment and hydropower production. The environmental focus has been well received: – Environment is the most interesting on the course. It creates debate, and we have many different perspectives within the student group because we are from different countries, says engineering student Beatriz Lavrador Guimares from Portugal. Popular course Today, and probably for a long time ahead, hydropower is the only renewable technology that is able to compete with fossil energy sources when it comes to price. Globally there is a large, untapped potential for hydropower production. Also, hydropower reservoirs has the potential of becoming “green batteries”. Despite of this, solar and wind power seem to be getting more attention when talking about renewable technologies for the future. It is therefore very positive to see such a large interest from European students in this course. About four times as many students applied than the number of places available when the course was first held in 2014. – I like energy issues and wanted to learn about hydropower. We learn about other renewable technologies, but not so much about hydropower, says Marc-Antoine Huvet, who studies energy engineering in France. To Norway and NTNU Several of the participants come from Southern Europe, and they wanted to experience a very different country. Furthermore, NTNU has a good reputation among students: – I wanted international experience, and NTNU is one of the best universities, says the Portuguese engineering student Guimares. The feedback on the course is good. – It is a good course. It is well organized with excursions in the afternoons, says Wouter Mortelmans from Belgium. Also sivil engineering student Merel Hendriksen from the Netherlands highlight the combination of lectures and excursions to different rivers and hydropower plants in Trøndelag – It is a good alternative to the Erasmus exchange for those who cannot go abroad for a full semester, says the student Mortelmans.