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Regional systems

Substantial hydropower resources tend to be sited in mountainous and remote areas, often on or crossing national borders, and providing the opportunity for co-operation between countries for the sustainable exploitation of this valuable resource.

Most of the world’s major rivers have transboundary basins meaning that the usage of the water for energy and other purposes by one country is likely to have an impact on downstream countries.  These impacts can be negative and require careful management.

Equally for some countries the hydropower resource is beyond their local needs, and exporting power from hydropower projects can bring in considerable and reliable income and investment from energy-hungry neighbours.

To do this requires investment – often from the neighbouring country – and harmonisation of the technical, legal and regulatory frameworks along with the construction not just of the project, but also the interconnectors across the border to carry the power.

We work with key stakeholders, including river basin organisations and power pools, to identify and resolve the issues. We have held a series of global workshops in association with the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank and major regional development banks with local stakeholders to advance this. Our latest workshop was in Kuching, Malaysia in 2013 and the report can be downloaded here.

This series of workshops is continuing to develop, refine and promote good practice in the siting of hydropower in remote areas, and the practical and governance issues related to transnational watersheds and distribution systems.