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February 2019

15 February 2019 

Hydropower developers and operators are piloting a draft guide for the hydropower sector designed to help projects assess potential risks associated with climate change, including alterations to hydrological patterns.

The Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide, set to be published in 2019, is being developed by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) with technical and financial support from the World Bank Group (WBG) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The guide will assist hydropower companies to consider and manage climate-related risks in project design and operations, addressing the demand from industry, investors, policy-makers and communities for international guidance on good practice in this area.

At a recent technical workshop in London, representatives from hydropower operators and developers that have piloted the draft (beta version) of the guide shared their experience and feedback on its practicality to assess climate risks and its suitability to inform design options and resilience measures.

The workshop marked the final stage of consultation ahead of the guide’s expected launch at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris in May 2019.

“The Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide will deliver pragmatic and accessible guidance for the hydropower sector, which is so important as a source of renewable, clean energy,” said Patrick Ray, Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, USA, who is a member of the expert advisory panel formed by IHA to develop the guide. “It will draw from cutting-edge climate science, acting as a bridge between the scientific and engineering community.”

Addressing the workshop, Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, said: “As a low carbon and cost-effective technology, hydropower produces almost two-thirds of the world’s renewable electricity generation and is making a significant contribution to delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

“Hydropower projects need to manage climate risks associated with their dependency on runoff and so this guide responds to the demand from owners, operators, investors and governments for clear and practical guidance for risk mitigation. The aim of this testing phase is to ensure the guide is meaningful, credible and applicable,” Mr Taylor added.

Albania’s state-owned hydropower operator KESH is one of the organisations to have piloted the guide, leading to its recent adoption of a climate risk management plan. The plan was adopted as part of a loan agreement with the EBRD and lists a range of structural and non-structural adaptation measures.

“Building know-how in the field of climate resilient hydropower operation is an essential element of our strategy to sustain and further develop our position as a leading electricity generator in the Western Balkan region,” said KESH CEO Agron Hetoja, announcing the climate risk management plan in December 2018.

The IHA workshop for more than 40 participants was held at the London headquarters of EBRD on 30 January 2019. Following the workshop, the project’s advisory expert panel will use the feedback received to finalise the guide for publication.

“We see financing hydropower as being indispensable to the clean energy transition, but we really must think about a project’s resilience to the impacts of a changing climate when investing in the sector,” said Dr Craig Davies, Head of Climate Resilience Investments at EBRD.

“This workshop is a very important step in creating replicable, well-understood guidance based on experiences of good practice from industry,” Dr Davies added.

Pravin Karki, the World Bank’s Global Lead for Hydropower and Dams, who also participated in the workshop, added: “The World Bank is pleased to support the IHA initiative to develop an industry guide for climate change resilience.”

The Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide will be presented to delegates at the World Hydropower Congress at a workshop on 14 May 2019 co-convened by EBRD, the World Bank and the Korea Green Growth Trust Fund and a climate resilience focus session on 15 May co-convened by EBRD. Participants will learn how the guide supports resilient investments and the steps required to complete a climate risk management plan. To register to attend, please visit the Congress website.

For more information, IHA members can join our Climate Resilience Knowledge Network which brings together professionals to exchange good practices in hydropower development and operation. To become a member, visit: hydropower.org/join

15 February 2019 

Nominations are now open for the International Hydropower Association’s prestigious Mosonyi Award for Excellence in Hydropower.

The award recognises individuals for their outstanding contributions to the hydropower sector and will be presented at the World Hydropower Congress between 14 and 16 May 2019, in Paris, France.

Named after the renowned engineer Prof Dr Emil Mosonyi, IHA’s founding President, the award is for one or more of the following:

• a long-standing commitment or initiative that has had a major impact on the profession;

• a specific hydropower project, the performance of an organisation or the hydropower sector in general; or

• an aspect of hydropower sustainability (technical, economic, social or environmental) or a broad-ranging initiative, such as national-level or basin-level strategic planning.

The winner will receive lifetime honorary membership with IHA and guest registration to the 2019 Congress.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, said: “The Mosonyi award recognises those who have made a profound contribution to hydropower. The World Hydropower Congress provides an unparalleled stage on which to showcase their achievements.”

Nominations can be made by anyone within IHA’s membership. The deadline for nominations is 10 March 2019. Up to three individuals can receive the award.

The 2017 Mosonyi award was presented jointly to Anton-Louis Olivier (South Africa), Kuang Shangfu (China) and Eduard Wojcynski (Canada).

At the 2019 World Hydropower Congress senior executives from more than 70 countries will share knowledge on a range of hydropower and sustainability topics. The event will focus on hydropower’s role in delivering the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Mosonyi award is one of three to be presented at the 2019 Congress, along with the IHA Blue Planet Prize and the IHA Young Researcher Award.  

The Blue Planet Prize is awarded to projects which clearly demonstrate excellence according to a range of social, environmental, technical and economic criteria. Entries for the 2019 award closed on 31 December 2018. 

The Young Researcher Award recognises and rewards emerging talent in academia and the hydropower sector. It invites academic researchers aged under 30 to submit a short article summarising their work which is relevant to at least one topic under discussion at the Congress. The deadline for entry to the Young Researcher Award has been extended to 3 March 2019. 

At the 2019 World Hydropower Congress senior executives from more than 70 countries will share knowledge on a range of hydropower and sustainability topics. The event will focus on hydropower’s role in delivering the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

To learn more about the Mosonyi Award for Excellence in Hydropower or to nominate a candidate, please visit: hydropower.org/mosonyi-award-for-excellence-in-hydropower

Secure your place at the 2019 World Hydropower Congress by registering today.

14 February 2019

There is just under a month left for young engineers and scientists to apply for the International Hydropower Association’s (IHA) prestigious Young Researcher Award.

The award recognises emerging talent researching hydropower, water and energy systems and will be presented at the 2019 World Hydropower Congress between 14 to 16 May in Paris.

Open to academic researchers aged under 30, entrants are invited to submit a short article summarising their work (no more than 1,500 words). The subject must be relevant to at least one of the topics under discussion at the upcoming World Hydropower Congress.

The winner will receive a year’s individual membership with IHA and free registration to the 2019 Congress, where they will be invited to present their research. Those who make the shortlist will have their articles published on the IHA website.

IHA’s Chief Executive Richard Taylor said: “The IHA Young Researcher Award provides an opportunity for young innovators to share their research with key representatives from the hydropower sector, government, financial and academic institutions and civil society. It is a rare chance to bring specialist research findings to the attention of policy-makers from around the world.”

The award was first presented at the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, China, where it was won by Sami Khan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his work on hydrophobic rare-earth oxide coatings and their potential application in hydropower systems.

It was awarded again at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The recipients were Alexandros Korkovelos of KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sara Mercier-Blais of the University of Quebec in Montreal and Rafael Schmitt of UC Berkeley.

Since winning the award, Dr Schmitt has become Lead Hydrologist and a postdoctoral researcher at The Natural Capital Project at Stanford University. He referred to the experience as a “pivotal moment” for his research.

“The World Hydropower Congress exposed me to real-world challenges and led me to direct my research towards decision-relevant research questions. The network I established during the Congress has led to ongoing collaborations and research opportunities with key actors in the hydropower sector,” said Dr Schmitt.

This sentiment was echoed by Ms Mercier-Blais, for whom the Congress was a “first step” into the hydropower sector. “By attending different panel sessions, I learned about many subjects, which has helped me to better understand the context I am now working with.”

Mr Korkovelos, a PHD Researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, added: “Winning the award definitely had a positive impact on my career as it gave rise to new, interesting opportunities. The Congress provided the chance to get informed about the newest developments in hydropower and meet with experts in the field.”

The 2019 World Hydropower Congress will focus on hydropower’s role in delivering the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. It is expected to bring together representatives from more than 100 countries.

To qualify, entrants must have been born after 31 December 1988 and must be affiliated with an academic institution. To find out more about the IHA Young Researcher Award, including the full entry criteria, visit www.hydropower.org/iha-young-researcher-award

Register for the 2019 World Hydropower Congress.

14 February 2019

A new multi-partner initiative – led by the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) and supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) – aims to agree common research and innovation priorities for the hydropower sector in Europe.

HYDROPOWER EUROPE is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme to provide a forum for the European hydropower community and representatives active throughout the sector’s value-chain, including industry, researchers, policy makers, end users and academia.

The three-year project will develop a strategic research and innovation agenda and technology roadmap to guide funding authorities, such as the European Commission, to prioritise support aimed at helping the hydropower sector adapt to a constantly evolving energy system.

According to IHA’s 2018 Hydropower Status Report, hydropower remains the single largest source of renewable electricity across Europe, generating an estimated 600 TWh of clean electricity in 2017 - about 12 per cent of Europe’s electricity generation.

The HYDROPOWER EUROPE initiative will begin consultation with the European hydropower community through a series of online and face to face meetings, including regional workshops to develop the research and innovation agenda and technology roadmap.

“We are thrilled by the new opportunity this project offers the hydropower community in Europe,” said Anton Schleiss, Honorary President of ICOLD.  “Our responsibility towards our sector is very high. We have the task to bring a multitude of actors together and bring their voice to the European level so as to make our contribution to the energy transition, for which hydropower in Europe can be a catalyst.”

The HYDROPOWER EUROPE initiative will be presented at a dedicated session at the World Hydropower Congress between 14 and 15 May 2019, which brings together senior representatives of industry, government, finance and civil society to set priorities for the future of the sector.

IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor said: “The transition to a low-carbon economy in Europe begins with the energy system. Hydropower will play an integral part in this transformation, reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and supporting growth in variable renewables such as wind and solar.

“This forum, HYDROPOWER EUROPE, will engage Europe’s hydropower community and foster communication and cooperation to align priorities in research and development (R&D) to support the pathway to a sustainable future.”

Mathis Rogner, IHA Senior Analyst, added: “By examining the unique set of policy, technological and scientific challenges facing the hydropower sector, HYDROPOWER EUROPE will look at new and innovative approaches to the development and application of technological and social processes as they relate to the energy transition.”

Led by the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), HYDROPOWER EUROPE initiative partners are:

  • The European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE)
  • The European Renewable Energy Federation
  • The European Renewable Energy Federation (EREF)
  • The Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres (EUREC)
  • The International Hydropower Association (IHA)
  • SAMUI, which brings expertise in water and environmental research, and communication and dissemination
  • VGB PowerTech, the international technical association for generation and storage of power and heat
  • ZABALA, a consultancy in energy-related platforms as well as project dissemination and communication.

For more information please visit the HYDROPOWER EUROPE website: www.hydropower-europe.eu

8 February 2019 

Private developers, investors and government agencies examined the “great potential” for independently owned and sustainably managed hydro projects in emerging economies at a recent workshop in London, UK.

Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), the workshop on 1 February 2019 looked at solutions to environmental, social, financial, legal and technical challenges brought forward by private sector hydropower development, with a focus on projects built in Africa.

Despite recent growth in private investment in Africa’s power sector, only around 10 per cent of the continent’s economically feasible hydropower potential has been developed. Independent power producers (IPPs) form part of the power sector in the majority of African countries, but hydropower IPPs are less common.

Anton-Louis Olivier, CEO of Renewable Energy Holdings (REH), an investor, developer, owner and operator of hydropower projects across southern and eastern Africa, emphasised the “great potential for sustainable hydropower development” in the region.

Addressing the significant disparity between utilised hydropower capacity in Africa and other world regions, Mr Olivier said: “It’s important that private developers utilise the benefits of sustainable hydropower to respond to the increasing opportunities for independent power producers in Africa.”

Rebecca Wooding, Infrastructure Advisor at the UK Department for International Development (DFID), also noted the “huge potential for growth” of many low-income African countries as “much of the permanent, long-term infrastructure is still to be built.”

Kelly Malone, Partner and Head of the Global Power Team at King & Spalding law firm, highlighted the 420 MW run-of-river Nachtigal hydropower project, which is under development in Cameroon. Mr Malone praised the public-private partnership between the government of Cameroon, EDF and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). “From a historic standpoint, this is probably one of the most important milestones for the financing of hydropower in Africa,” Mr Malone commented.

Considerations for external stakeholders and local communities formed a large part of the day’s discussions. “People are at the heart of development and water has huge emotional, cultural and livelihood value to people and the ecosystems they depend on,” stated Shibani Bose, Environmental and Social Officer at FMO, the Dutch development bank.

Duncan Russell, Technical Director at Environmental Resources Management, remarked on the importance of investment decisions being informed by sustainability assessments. “Funders are fundamentally interested because they want to make lending decisions which are based on solid and sound background that integrates up to date engineering design with current and future environmental needs in a transparent manner,” he said. 

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, closed the workshop by saying: “Finding solutions to advance hydropower development will depend on getting a pipeline of good projects designed to deliver what is needed in the countries and regions that will be hosting them.”

The workshop was organised in partnership with REH and King & Spalding, which hosted the event at its London office. It is part of a series of focused events leading up to the 2019 World Hydropower Congress, 14-16 May in Paris, France.

IHA members can access presentations and photos from the workshop in Hydropower Pro, IHA’s online member community. Please contact external-relations@hydropower.org for information on becoming a member.

IHA members and non-members can now register for the World Hydropower Congress, which includes 37 focused sessions and workshops on topics including project ownership and financing, integrated planning, river basin development, small-scale power systems, and sustainability reporting.

Visit the World Hydropower Congress website for more details: www.hydropower.org/congress