Reporting hydropower benefits
The wide-ranging benefits of hydropower are often misunderstood or under-reported.
Over and above electricity generation, the benefits of hydropower include flexible energy generation and storage, as well as reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
Benefits to local communities include flood protection and water supply for domestic and commercial use, as well as opportunities for employment, education, recreation. Hydropower facilities also provide a boost to national economic growth through trade, transport and tourism.
Environmental benefits include pollution control and reduction of carbon emissions. Hydropower can also boost food security with a reliable source of water for irrigation.
These benefits are, however, often under-reported, and companies struggle to collect, quantify and share information on them. This is partially due to non-power related benefits being difficult to measure.
The absence of an adequate framework to define and quantify these benefits makes it difficult for society to evaluate them.
Our strategy and action
IHA supports its members to articulate the multipurpose benefits of hydropower.
Since we were established in 1995, IHA has been building and sharing knowledge on the benefits of hydropower. Building a community and creating a platform for knowledge in the hydropower sector have been central to our efforts.
Prior to World Hydropower Congress in 2017, we collaborated with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and EDF on research to identify, quantify and maximise these benefits.
We are now working to provide a framework for collecting evidence on these power and non-power hydropower benefits.
Throughout 2018, we will undertake a scoping study to quantify impacts at a sectoral level, and are developing a reporting template to identify and quantify them at a project level. This template will be presented at the next Congress in May 2019.
These efforts will help the hydropower sector to better assess and articulate benefits which contribute to the realisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in developing countries and emerging economies.
In May 2017, during the World Hydropower Congress in Ethiopia, we organised a focus session on the benefits of hydropower, where the critical importance of identification and quantification was recognised.
In June 2017, we published a briefing paper for members on ‘Identifying, quantifying and maximising the multipurpose benefits of hydropower’.
Throughout the year, we continued to publish content on IHA’s website, hydropower.org, and social media, on the value of hydropower, including blogs and case studies.