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Interview: bringing the hydropower world together

In May 2015, we hosted the World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, China. One of the key organising partners was the China Society for Hydropower Engineering. Li Jugen, the society’s vice standing president and acting secretary general, reflects on the success of the congress, the benefits for Chinese companies in engaging internationally, and the plans for future collaboration.


Li JugenWhat is the role of China Society of Hydropower Engineering?

The China Society of Hydropower Engineering is the link between the Chinese Government and hydropower engineering science and technical professionals, as well as an important social force in the development of hydropower engineering science and technology. 

More specifically, the society serves to motivate the hydropower sector in China and to promote prosperity and development. 


What’s the benefit for Chinese enterprises to enter the International Hydropower Association?

By joining IHA, Chinese companies can strengthen contacts and communications with international peers within industry, and actively participate in an international forum for the sustainable development of the world’s hydropower.

Even though China is the world's largest developing country, Chinese enterprises still need to understand the latest concepts and practical skills from the global community. Currently, hydropower development is at about 80 per cent in developed countries, while in China the level of hydropower is relatively low. 

Meanwhile, high levels of coal consumption in China still exist, making carbon emission reduction a great challenge. 

Because China is still a developing country, it can provide advice to other developing nations on how to finance hydropower"

By gaining access to the international hydropower community, Chinese enterprises can learn advanced concepts and technology, mature management experiences, and well-established principles of sustainable hydropower development from international peers. 

China has much to offer the international community through its vast experience in constructing large-scale hydropower, and a wealth of experience in design, construction, equipment manufacturing and operation management of hydropower stations. 

Much of China's economic and hydropower development has occurred in recent decades, using the most current and advanced scientific and technological approaches. 

Because China is still a developing country, it can provide advice to other developing nations on how to finance hydropower, and how hydropower development can reduce poverty through economic growth. 


What did it mean for China to host the 2015 World Hydropower Congress? 

In recent years, China has developed expertise on how to use market mechanisms to leverage hydropower investments, and how to accelerate the development of hydropower resources to support economic development. The World Hydropower Congress in China offered delegates from many countries the opportunity to gain an understanding of China's hydropower development path. 

The congress offered delegates an opportunity to visit some of China’s hydroelectric projects to see first-hand some of the world’s leading scientific and technological progress in hydropower construction. 

Meanwhile, it also provided good opportunities for Chinese workers to learn advanced skills and technologies from other countries. 

Moreover, the success of the congress in China played a positive role in making the Chinese public more aware of the importance of hydropower development, by meeting experts, government officials and business representatives from so many countries who are active in the sector.


What are your personal reflections on the congress?

The 2015 World Hydropower Congress was the largest scale and the most successful one ever, as was expressed by many of the international representatives. 

We have seen from our experiences in China, and those in some other developing countries, that hydropower development is one of the most effective ways to get rid of poverty."

At this congress, we promoted the great achievements made in China's hydropower industry. We showed the significant role that hydropower has played in China both in economic and social development and in energy savings. 

It is evident that countries in south-east Asia, Africa and South America have a wide range of needs in capital, technology, power transmission, equipment and operation management in their own hydropower development, with potential opportunities for China to benefit from overseas markets. 

The congress has established a strong line of communication and understanding for Chinese hydropower enterprises and other countries, as well as international organisations, to jointly construct a platform for cooperation. 


What is your expectation for future cooperation with the International Hydropower Association?

I hope the International Hydropower Association can be effective internationally to promote a better understanding of the important role of hydropower for sustainable development in society. 

Hydropower developers also have a responsibility to pay attention to protecting the ecological environment, and make unremitting efforts to that. Until now, in many countries and regions, some of the most important, effective and economical hydroelectric projects have not been recognised by the Clean Development Mechanism, because the perception of the ecological role of hydropower is prejudiced in many countries. 

If the International Hydropower Association can clarify the facts, eliminate misunderstandings, promote the scientific concept of environmental protection, and play an effective role in hydropower communication, then it will continue to gain support from the global hydropower sector. 


What are your hopes for the 2017 World Hydropower Congress?

We look forward to participating in the 2017 World Hydropower Congress, which will be held in Addis Ababa. Currently, the main obstacle to hydropower in developing economies is financing. This congress should further explore institutional mechanisms, policies, and investment financing to promote and strengthen cooperation among different countries and regions.

We have seen from our experiences in China, and those in some other developing countries, that hydropower development is one of the most effective ways to get rid of poverty. So I hope that the 2017 World Hydropower Congress can help Africa and other developing regions in this aspect too.


An excerpt of this interview with Li Jugen is featured in our Activity and Strategy Report 2016–17, which is available to download here.