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September 2017

Costa Rica hydropower plant demonstrates good practice in sustainability

San José, Costa Rica, 28 September 2017 - The Reventazón project in Costa Rica, the largest hydropower plant in Central America, has been classed as an example of international good practice in hydropower sustainability.

It is the first hydropower plant in the region to undergo an official assessment under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, a tool which examines a project's performance against social, environmental and governance criteria.

The plant on the Reventazón river, inaugurated on 16 September 2016, was designed, developed and built by the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE). It has an installed capacity of 305.5 MW.

The results of the assessment were announced on 27 September 2017 during an international workshop on the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol in San José represented by experts from 22 countries.

The workshop was organised by the World Bank, the International Hydropower Association (IHA), the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) and the Ministry of the Environment (MINAE).

“We are delighted to receive the results, which reinforce the good practices we implemented during the construction of the plant. Reventazón is a source of pride for the country, and is now among a select group of projects with this level of recognition,” said Carlos Manuel Obregón, executive vice president of ICE.

During the workshop participants recounted their experiences of applying the Protocol in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Iceland, Nepal, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

Launched in 2011, the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, a multistakeholder body comprising IHA and representatives of the World Bank, the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders. 

“The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol offers a common language for the multiple sectors and stakeholders involved in hydropower development to work together towards sustainability.”

Irene Cañas, Vice Minister of Environment and Energy for Costa Rica's Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), said: “The implementation of the Protocol is a clear sign of the commitment we’ve made as a country towards securing a sustainable and low-carbon economy. Evidence shows it’s possible to achieve an electricity supply based on renewables with a strong focus on environmental, social and economic concerns."

Reventazón scored above three on all of the categories, meaning the project was deemed to demonstrate good practice against the evaluated topics. The project received best practice scores in communications and consultation, infrastructure safety, financial viability, resettlement, and public health, going above and beyond the requirements for international good practice. 

“The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol offers a common language for the multiple sectors and stakeholders involved in hydropower development to work together towards sustainability,” said Richard Taylor, CEO of IHA. 

“This workshop is an opportunity to share experiences of the Protocol’s application at hydropower projects around the world, to look at those good practices which should be recognised and emulated, and to assist project managers in focusing their efforts on continuous improvement.”

The Protocol allows for evaluation of a hydropower project at different stages of development, from planning, to implementation and through to operation. In Reventazón’s case, the assessment was carried out under contract by the World Bank, and evaluated 19 technical, environmental, social and business-related topics during the construction phase of the plant.

“Tools like the Protocol, together with international financing institutions’ safeguarding and performance policies, help strengthen the environmental, social and safety management of hydropower development, and reduce the impact on communities and the environment,” said Ruth Tiffer Sotomayor, Senior Environmental Specialist at the World Bank Group.

She added that: “The workshop is an opportunity to exchange experience on the Protocol’s application in different regions around the world, to share good practices, and ultimately to improve the environmental and social management of projects.”

Find out more about the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.

Visit the workshop website at: sustainablehydro.net

The Reventazón project is featured in our 'Better Hydro: Compendium of Case Studies 2017'. Download the publication here, or read more about the project on our blog, here

IHA president re-elected as new members join board

Ken Adams was re-elected for a third consecutive term as president of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), at the organisation’s September 2017 board meeting in London.

Mr Adams, a consultant and former vice president of Manitoba Hydro with more than 40 years’ of industry experience, said: "It is a great honour to be re-elected as president of IHA at a time of immense opportunity in the hydropower sector.

"The whole IHA team, the board and staff, look forward to supporting our diverse and growing membership to build knowledge and embed sustainability principles and practices across the globe."

The inaugural meeting of IHA’s 2017-2019 board saw the adoption of a new strategy and work plan for the organisation and the election of five vice presidents.

New board members include Moisés Machava, executive director of Hidroelétrica de Cahora Bassa (Mozambique), Evgeniy Tikhonov, strategy and development director for EuroSibEnergo JSC (Russia), Sharbini Suhaili, group chief executive for Sarawak Energy (Malaysia), and Luiz Fernando Leone Vianna, director general of Itaipu Binacional (Brazil). 

The composition of the 18-member board, which brings together leading organisations in the hydropower sector, was announced last month following a ballot of IHA’s membership

IHA vice presidents:

  • Antoine Badinier - deputy vice president, hydropower generation and engineering division, EDF (Europe)
  • Lin Chuxue - executive vice president, China Three Gorges Corporation (Asia, East and Pacific)
  • Colin Clark - chief technical officer, Brookfield Renewable (America, North and Central)
  • Roger Gill - independent consultant (Asia, East and Pacific)
  • Gil Maranhão Neto - chief strategy, communications and CSR officer, Engie Brasil (America, South)

Speaking after the board meeting between 20-21 September 2017, Mr Tikhonov said EuroSibEnergo, one of the world’s largest privately owned hydropower companies, is “delighted” to have joined IHA. “We share the same values of responsible and sustainable development of hydropower. Russia possesses the world’s second-largest hydropower resources and we believe that its incremental utilisation, in accordance with the highest environmental standards, will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change,” he said.

Mr Machava commented: “IHA is an organisation which is willing to strive to create a world where the water and energy services are delivered to all in a sustainable way. To be a new member of the board, representing Africa, means that I have a challenge and opportunity to learn and share knowledge. It is a great pleasure to join this brilliant international team for such a noble mission.”

Mr Suhaili said: “I am proud and honoured to be a board member of IHA, an organisation with enormous potential to help create a better future for the next generation.”

 

Read about IHA’s new board members.

 

Sustainability at the core of IHA’s new strategy and work plan

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is embarking on an ambitious new strategy and work plan to support socially and environmentally responsible hydropower projects.

 

At its meeting in London, between 20-21 September 2017, the IHA’s newly elected board approved the organisation’s programme of research and activities for the next two years.

The IHA’s reputation as a pioneer in promoting good practices is set to be further strengthened as it develops new guidelines and tools for companies and investors based on the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.

Twelve topics - including clean energy systems, climate bonds, climate resilience and climate mitigation, water footprint, river basin development, modernisation and sediment management – will form the bedrock of IHA’s research, analysis and capacity-building support to members.

IHA was formed in 1995 to champion sustainable practices within the hydropower sector. Over that time, the world’s installed hydroelectric capacity has almost doubled from 625 GW to 1,246 GW, according to IHA’s Hydropower Status Report.

“Over the next two years I expect IHA to remain the world's leading, go-to organisation on sustainable hydropower development,” said board member Sharbini Suhaili, group chief executive of Sarawak Energy, speaking after the meeting.

Mr Suhaili predicted that hydropower projects which adopt the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, supported by new guidelines and tools under development, will be “deemed green” by financial institutions and host governments.

Another new board member, Moisés Machava, executive director of Hidroelétrica de Cahora Bassa, said: “In Africa there is huge potential hydropower capacity. The tools that IHA is preparing will be a very important boost around the world. Further capacity-building and performance benchmarking will add value to IHA’s membership.”

At the London board meeting, IHA’s president, Ken Adams, was re-elected as president for a third consecutive term, along with five vice presidents. Read more about the new members joining IHA’s board.

IHA’s 12 research topics for 2017-2019:

  • Clean energy systems
  • Climate mitigation
  • Climate resilience
  • Green bonds
  • Hydropower benefits
  • Hydropower preparation support facility
  • Modernisation
  • Operations and maintenance
  • Regional interconnections
  • River basin development
  • Sediment management
  • Water footprint