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February 2018

IHA publishes activity and strategy report for 2017-2018

27 February 2018

The International Hydropower Association’s Activity and Strategy Report for 2017-2018 is now available online.

The publication outlines IHA’s priorities and actions to advance sustainable hydropower while providing an annual update on the progress of its knowledge building and sustainability programmes.

Writing in the report’s foreword, IHA President Ken Adams and IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor highlight the contribution of IHA’s members to delivering on international climate and development goals.

“Providing enough clean power for a billion people, hydropower is helping to deliver on the ambition of the Paris Climate Agreement by reducing our reliance on sources with harmful emissions,” Mr Adams and Mr Taylor write.

“With its economic benefits, its supporting services for other renewables, and freshwater management capability, hydropower also acts as an accelerator for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The report outlines the work of IHA in advancing policies and strategies that strengthen the sector’s performance and delivering value to members.

Tools launched over the past year include the G-res Tool for reporting GHG emissions, the Sediment Management Knowledge Hub to help extend the life of reservoirs, and the Pumped Storage Tracking Tool to showcase hydropower’s capacity to provide clean storage solutions.

IHA priorities for 2018 include the better definition of hydropower’s role in clean energy systems and regional interconnections, unlocking funding for sustainable hydropower projects through green bonds, and promoting new project preparation facilities.

Knowledge building programmes:

  • Clean energy systems: expanding hydropower’s role
  • Regional interconnections: connecting hydropower
  • Hydropower preparation facility: a model for sustainable projects
  • Green bonds: unlocking the market
  • Climate mitigation: assessing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Climate resilience: developing guidelines
  • Hydropower benefits: better reporting
  • River basin development: promoting collaboration
  • Operations and maintenance: understanding strategies
  • Modernisation: building knowledge on innovation
  • Sediment management: identifying good practices
  • The status of hydropower: monitoring the sector

Sustainability programmes

  • Supporting the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol
  • Overseeing training and accreditation
  • Developing complementary tools and guidelines
  • Recognising performance through the IHA Blue Planet Prize

In addition to the IHA membership directory, the report includes information about the next World Hydropower Congress in Paris between 14-16 May 2019. It also showcases highlights from the 2017 Congress in Addis Ababa and IHA’s awards programme.

“IHA’s success rests on a sense of common purpose among its members, and the collaboration, openness and spirit of friendship at the heart of our global network,” write Mr Adams and Mr Taylor.

Read the IHA Activity and Strategy Report 2017-2018

Icelandic hydropower project demonstrates best practice in sustainability

14 February 2018

The Fljótsdalur Hydropower Station in Iceland has become the power company Landsvirkjun’s third project to be assessed under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.

The plant, which has an installed capacity of 690 MW, was assessed against 17 categories in September 2017, achieving proven best practice scores in eleven, including biodiversity and invasive species, communications and consultation, and reservoir management.

In a statement, the company said: “The results showed that operations at the Fljótsdalur Hydropower Station are largely considered to be of highest standard with regard to the sustainable utilisation of hydroelectric power.

“Many of the other working practices at the station were considered to be of the highest possible quality.”

Of the six remaining categories assessed, four were deemed to demonstrate international good practice and two were considered to be non-applicable.

Fljótsdalur follows the Hvammur Hydropower Station and the Blanda Hydropower Station, which were assessed under the Protocol in 2012 and 2013 respectively, with the latter being awarded the IHA Blue Planet Prize at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress. 

A fourth Landsvirkjun plant, the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station, was also assessed in 2017, during the testing process of the Geothermal Sustainability Assessment Protocol, which is being developed based on the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.

The Protocol was launched in 2011 and has become the leading international tool for measuring the sustainability of hydropower projects, having been applied in more than 25 countries. It offers a way to assess the performance of a hydropower project across more than 20 sustainability topics.

Protocol assessments are based on objective evidence and the results are presented in a standardised way, making it easy to see how existing facilities are performing and how well new projects are being developed.

Find out more: hydropower.org/sustainability

SDG7 conference: Hydropower ‘part of the solution’ to sustainable development

14 February 2018

Governments will review the United Nations goal on sustainable energy at a major summit in Bangkok, Thailand, next week.

The Global SDG7 Conference, at which the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) is hosting a side-event on hydropower, will allow policy-makers to take stock of progress to boost energy access.

Sustainable Development Goal 7, which was agreed by world leaders at the UN in 2015 along with 16 other goals, aims to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.

Despite its adoption, the UN estimates that 1.06 billion people, predominantly rural dwellers, still do not have access to electricity. Half of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ahead of the Bangkok conference between 21 and 23 February 2018, the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and Norad have urged countries to recognise hydropower’s significant role in efforts to achieve sustainable development.

Jon Lomøy, Director General of Norad, described the conference as “an important platform to mobilise the global energy community” to take action.

“To achieve SDG7 we need to enable the whole spectrum of renewable technologies and resources. Hydropower is a perfect match with wind and solar power to ensure high quality energy supply. Hydropower is therefore part of the solution for sustainable development.”

“The Norwegian Government is highly committed to the 2030 Agenda and we welcome this conference organised by UN DESA,” he said.

The conference comes as a major report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found hydropower remains the world’s lowest-cost source of renewable electricity, at a global weighted average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of US$0.05 per kWh.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), said: “As the lowest-cost renewable energy technology, hydropower remains at the centre of international efforts to decarbonise and transition to a clean energy future.

“The Global SDG7 Conference is a significant moment for countries to take stock and recognise hydropower’s role, working together with other renewables, in national plans to achieve affordable, sustainable energy.”

The conference will give policy-makers and stakeholders the opportunity to identify trends and gaps in progress towards the goal, and look at finance, capacity-building and innovation. It will be followed by a high-level political forum in New York in July, during which strategies will be discussed for accelerating progress on goals for energy, water and sanitation, cities, and the environment.

The Norad side-event between 16:30-18:00 on 21 February is entitled ‘Hydropower: part of the solution for sustainable development’. The event at UN ESCAP headquarters will provide examples of institutional cooperation between Norway, Myanmar and Nepal.

Speakers include: Norway’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Marianne Hagen; Norad Asssistant Director for Climate, Energy, Environment and Research Oernulf Stroem; and Myanmar Ministry of Electricity and Energy Assistant Director Pauk Kyaing Sahm.

Next year the World Hydropower Congress in Paris, between 14 and 16 May 2019, will focus on hydropower’s role in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information on the Global SDG7 Conference organised by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), please visit the event website.

Hydropower preparation facility gains support at finance workshop

13 February 2018

Leaders from the investment community along with hydropower developers have voiced support for a new model of delivering sustainable hydropower projects.

The Hydropower Preparation Facility concept was praised at an IHA workshop on 5 February 2018 in the City of London, which aimed to identify innovative financing solutions for hydropower, including green bonds.

The workshop was attended by 50 senior executives including IHA members from across the globe. It was hosted by King & Spalding LLP and sponsored by Brookfield Renewable.

A common theme of discussion was the high upfront costs and risks associated with financing the early-stage preparation of hydropower projects relative to other renewable technologies, including solar and wind. 

According to one of the panellists, Paul Kunert, Chief Executive of Joule Africa, despite the urgent need for clean energy, funding for hydropower projects has been “languishing” next to other technologies. 

“Hydropower could be the clean, green backbone in Africa, where it is a largely untapped resource. It has a different profile in terms of availability in comparison with other renewables.” 

But, Mr Kunert said, “there is currently a mismatch between the enormous need for energy and the amount of private-sector money that is ready to be deployed.”

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, opened the discussion by introducing the emerging hydropower facility concept, which would help governments select and prepare the most appropriate hydropower projects before putting them out to tender. 

The model, which was proposed by IHA at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress in Ethiopia and endorsed by SEforALL, could generate a pipeline of new, well-prepared projects, he said.

“The host government gets projects which would have a better strategic fit within the country, and would be guided by international good practice in sustainability,” said Mr Taylor. “For a developer, it increases the project’s bankability and confidence that it will enjoy strong support.”

Jason Lu, Head of the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), a partnership of governments, multilateral banks and investors, established in 2015, described the concept as a “a very relevant proposal”.

“It is indeed time for the industry to think about a more effective and sustainable project preparation or development model.” Such a facility could deal with issues including “the time that it takes, the money it takes, and the risk involved,” he said. “This is really overdue. It is time to take it seriously.”

The sentiment was echoed by fellow panellist Pravin Karki, Global Lead for Hydropower and Dams at the World Bank, who commented that “hydropower will have a very important role to play in the future, as confirmed by all credible scenarios for clean energy development.”

The workshop was opened by Kelly Malone, Partner and Global Head for Power at King & Spalding, who outlined the range of lenders and financial instruments, including green bonds, for developers to consider when seeking finance, or re-finance, for hydropower projects.

Mr Malone highlighted the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol developed by a multiple stakeholder group including IHA, saying it is a “powerful tool” for promoting compliance by project sponsors. “It has enormous potential to gain credibility in the market,” he said.

In another panel discussion, Anna Creed, Head of Standards at the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), outlined the growth of the green bond market, which saw more than 1,500 green bond issuances totalling US$155 billion in 2017.

Workshop participants heard how IHA is working with the CBI and partners to agree internationally recognised hydropower eligibility criteria for green bonds. The criteria will build the confidence of investors on the sustainability credentials of hydropower projects.

André Abadie, Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental and Social Risk Management at J.P. Morgan, closed the final workshop session by saying: “Hydro needs to have a place at the table in terms of the energy future.

“It would be remiss of us not to push and continue to articulate that hydro has a role and - from a green, sustainability and social impact perspective - can be well managed.”

Visit the workshop webpage to see the full list of speakers. IHA members and attendees can download password protected presentations.