Webinar: Modernising the hydropower fleet in Latin America and the Caribbean

IHA-IDB webinar
IHA event
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19 June 2020   Time: 9:00 in Central America / 11:00 in Washington D.C. / 16:00 in London

Language: Spanish (simultaneous translation in English and Portuguese)

Join by Zoom (Meeting ID: 98085799257)


Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is the second fastest growing region in the world for hydropower. In total, the capacity in LAC reached 196 GW in 2019, with Brazil making up more than half of this (109 GW). [i]

Hydropower development in the region began at the end of the 19th century, peaking in the decades from 1960 to 1980, with large scale hydropower reservoir plants, including three binational projects in the region. During these decades the installed capacity in LAC has increased fivefold. As a result, today an estimated 70 GW have already exceeded their expected lifespan.[ii]

Hydropower electricity generation in the LAC exceeds 50 per cent of the share of electricity supply in several countries in the region. Due to its multiple benefits, hydropower will remain the largest source of renewable electricity for years to come. Nonetheless, to maintain the existing hydropower fleet in optimal operating conditions, actions are needed.


Following efforts to advance knowledge on hydropower modernisation and digitalisation in the LAC region, IDB and IHA engaged in a study to understand the modernisation potential of LAC’s hydropower fleet and shed light on the estimated investment need, for the benefit of hydropower stakeholders, regulators, and policy makers.

The webinar offers an opportunity to share the knowledge and insights on hydropower modernisation needs in the LAC region. It will focus on the scope of the study, the finding in terms of capacity and the estimated investment need per subregion.


During the webinar, participants will hear

  • An introduction to modernisation, global trends, and energy strategy in LAC region.
  • A presentation of the findings per subregion of the IDB-IHA study on identification the modernisation needs in LAC region.
  • Reactions and conclusions to the study findings and key messages.
  • General discussions with the audience
  • Final remarks and how participants can get involved in the upcoming activities.

The speakers include:

  • Ariel Yépez, Energy Division Chief, IDB
  • Eddie Rich, CEO, IHA
  • Arturo Alarcón, Senior Regional Specialist, IDB
  • Melvin Monge Sandí, Director Generation Business, ICE
  • María Ubierna, Hydropower Specialist, IHA
  • Thiago Vasconcellos Barral Ferreira, President, Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE)
  • Ing. Fernando Alcarráz, General Manager, Comisión Técnica Mixta de Salto Grande

The webinar is framed in a set of upcoming activities between IDB and IHA to support the modernisation of the LAC hydropower fleet. These activities include:

  • A technical note to policy makers in the LAC region to support the transition of the aging hydropower fleet to the needs of the 21st century. To be published in July 2020.
  • An open webinar on policies to discuss the barriers to enable a favourable framework for the modernisation of aging hydropower projects in the LAC region. Dates to be confirmed for September 2020.
  • A workshop for practitioners on modernisation with regional focuses at the World Hydropower Congress 2021.
  • A focus session for policy makers on modernisation of the global hydropower fleet at the World Hydropower Congress 2021.

[i] 2020 Hydropower Status Report

[ii] Alarcón, Arturo D, 2018. El sector hidroeléctrico en Latinoamérica: desarrollo, potencial y perspectivas. Nota técnica del BID; 1405.  

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