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The prestigious 2019 IHA Mosonyi Award for Excellence in Hydropower was jointly awarded to three leading members of the hydropower community, at an awards ceremony at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris on 15 May.

The award went to: Karin Seelos, Statkraft Vice President (Power Generation and International Affairs); Refaat Abdel Malek, Former President of IHA and Vice Chairman of MWH Global; and Yan Zhiyong, Chairman of Power Construction Corporation of China.

Karin Seelos was recognised by the judging panel for her long-standing commitment to hydropower sustainability, which has had a major impact on the profession. Her work, including on an IHA White Paper on Hydropower and Sustainable Development, helped form the foundation for sector-wide sustainability guidelines and assessment tools. This helped catalyse a revolution of policy and thinking in the sector.

On receiving her award, Ms Seelos said “I am very grateful and deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award and would like to thank the IHA Board for this recognition. I was lucky to gain experience from some of the world’s leading hydropower utilities, Hydro-Québec in French Canada, and Statkraft in Norway."

Ms Seelos reflected on the “tremendous journey” that the hydropower sector has undergone in the past two decades since IHA was established. Hydropower is now considered a “key resource to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change”, she said.

“I hope the sector will continue its collaborative journey, focusing on gaining and sharing knowledge as an important part of the renewables family. Being part of the solution will be key to our success.”

Refaat Abdel Malek was President of IHA between 2007 and 2013, during which time he contributed to the development of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. Under his leadership, IHA led outreach to civil society organisations and governmental agencies supporting development around the world. He contributed actively to the participation of Latin American and Chinese organisations in international forums and to sharing knowledge in an inclusive way.

Mr Malek said: “I am grateful for the IHA for the excellent recognition through the IHA Mosonyi Award. The highlight of my career is to be a part of the IHA effort, together with other colleagues and organisations, to achieve the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. This is an achievement that returned the development of hydropower to the forefront of sustainable energy around the world.”

Yan Zhiyong was recognised for his contribution to the development of China’s hydropower industry and for his commitment to implement sustainability practices. With a philosophy of ‘people oriented green development’, he has organised and participated in formulating renewable energy development master plans for around 100 countries. He started as a designer in hydropower planning, then became the President of the China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute before he was Chairman of Power Construction Corporation of China.

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 winners receive lifetime honorary membership with IHA and guest registration to the 2019 World Hydropower Congress.

The Mosonyi award was one of three presented at the 2019 World Hydropower Congress, along with the IHA Blue Planet Prize and the IHA Young Researcher Award. 

The 2019 IHA Young Researcher Award has been jointly awarded to two rising stars from universities in Switzerland and China, at an awards ceremony at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris.

Martina Botter, a PhD student at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, and Weijia Yang, a Research Associate Professor at Wuhan University, were recognised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) for their research studies.

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Ms Botter’s research provides a decision support system to test new hydropower operation strategies to adapt to a changing climate and economic context. The framework has the capability of accounting for the uncertainty which characterises the operating context, so that multiple different scenarios can be considered at the same time and robust adaptation strategies can be identified. 

On receiving her award, Ms Botter said: “I am honoured to have received this prize. It means motivation to me, motivation to continue investigating in the field of climate resilience, adaptation strategies and a multi-objective approach in the decision making process of hydropower planning and management. I am very glad to see the relevance these topics have in this World Hydropower Congress, since they represent the main challenges for the future of hydropower."

Mr Weijia Yang, who works at Wuhan University’s State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, submitted research offering an assessment framework of burden on hydropower units for short-term balancing of renewable power systems. His paper looks at the burden, performance and payment of hydropower regulation under various conditions and future scenarios, leading to potential benefits for hydropower producers and transmission system operators.

Two finalists were also recognised at the awards ceremony: Sebastián Leguizamón, a PhD student from EPF Lausanne, and Chantel Monica Niebuhr, a PhD student from the University of Pretoria. The ceremony took place at Pavillon d’Armenonville in the city of Paris. 

The IHA Young Researcher Award is open to young engineers and scientists aged under 30 and is made every two years at the World Hydropower Congress.

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 World Hydropower Congress, where they present their research.

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.

www.hydropower.org/iha-young-researcher-award

The 2019 IHA Blue Planet Prize, which recognises excellence in sustainable hydropower development, has been awarded to the Reventazón Hydropower Plant in Costa Rica.

Reventazón is the largest hydropower project in Central America with 305.5 megawatts of installed capacity. Since it came into operation in 2016, the project has led Costa Rica to achieve a target of generating 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. 

IHA President Ken Adams presents IHA Blue Planet Prize to Irene Cañas Díaz, President of ICE

The IHA Blue Planet Prize is given to a hydropower project which demonstrates excellence across a range of social, environmental, technical and economic performance criteria. A judging panel awards the prize on the basis of an independent project assessment made using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, an internationally recognised performance measurement tool.

The prize announcement was made at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris at an awards ceremony held on 15 May 2019. The recipient is the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica’s national electricity company, which built, owns and operates Reventazón.

The project achieved proven best practice for its management of communications and consultation, resettlement, public health, biodiversity and invasive species, and waste, noise and air quality, according to an assessment using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), said: “The winner of the 2019 IHA Blue Planet Prize, Reventazón, demonstrated remarkable sustainability performance across a range of performance criteria, meeting or exceeding international good practice in all 19 assessment topics. The hydropower project is a worthy recipient of the IHA Blue Planet Prize and is an example of many stakeholders working together to achieve a common goal.”

The hydropower plant is located on the Reventazón river in Limón province, 50 kilometres upstream of the Caribbean Sea. It was constructed between 2010 and 2016 and financed from a range of national and international organisations, including the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group. 

On receiving the award, Irene Cañas Díaz, President of ICE, stated: “We are grateful to the International Hydropower Association in awarding the IHA Blue Planet Prize to the Reventazón project. This proves what 70 years of acquired expertise by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad can do, developing sustainable hydropower projects that comply with the best practices in the world”.

IHA Blue Planet Prize - Irene Cañas Díaz, President, ICE

 

The judges commended the project team for identifying opportunities to improve social and environmental management, developing educational processes for associated stakeholders, and implementing measures to compensate and mitigate impacts on aquatic habitats and endangered species. 

Reventazón is one of the first hydroelectric projects in Latin America to use a river offset approach, in order to develop hydropower potential while avoiding development in other free-flowing rivers. It shows how hydropower projects can make a significant contribution to biodiversity conservation at regional and basin levels.

The assessment was conducted by a team of independent accredited assessors using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, with financial and technical support from the World Bank Group. This involved 90 interviews with relevant stakeholders and a review of over 470 related project documents.

Ruth Tiffer Sotomayor, Senior Environmental Specialist at the World Bank, who led the team that applied the assessment protocol in Reventazón commented: “We are happy to have supported Costa Rica in the first application of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol in the Central America region.  We hope this award can motivate other countries and companies across regions to follow the best international practices that the protocol recognises for reducing impacts on people and the environment.

“This is an important award for ICE, its staff and Costa Rica, and an excellent example from the public sector of a small Latin American country to the world that we can do better hydropower, which is more inclusive and environmentally sensitive,” she added.

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol was developed through 30 months of cross-sector engagement between 2007 and 2010, and is aligned with World Bank Safeguard Policies and the IFC Performance Standards. 

More information about Reventazón and its assessment is available on www.hydrosustainability.org.

About IHA

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit membership organisation committed to sustainable hydropower. Our mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. We achieve this through sector monitoring, advancing strategies that strengthen performance, and building an open, innovative and trusted platform for knowledge.

IHA is a champion of good practices and continuous improvement in the hydropower community. We support project assessments, and training for independent assessors as the management body for the Hydropower Sustainability Tools, comprising:
•    The Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice
•    The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol
•    The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool

Learn more: www.hydropower.org 

IHA Blue Planet Prize

For a hydropower project to be considered for the IHA Blue Planet Prize, it must have undergone an official assessment under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. Applications are judged by a panel composed of experts selected by the IHA Board. The prize was awarded to seven projects between 2001 and 2017:

  • Blanda hydropower project, Iceland (2017)
  • Andhikhola hydel and rural electrification scheme, Nepal (2005)
  • Arrow Lakes power plant, Canada (2005)
  • Sechelt Creek power plant, Canada (2005)
  • Salto Caxias project, Brazil (2003)
  • Palmiet pumped storage scheme, South Africa (2003)
  • King River hydropower development, Tasmania, Australia (2001)

Media Contact

Will Henley
Head of Communications
International Hydropower Association
t:  +44 7507 661 755
e:  will.henley@hydropower.org

15 May 2019

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has today launched technical guidance to help the hydropower industry to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide will support investors, owners and developers to make informed decisions about how to plan, build, upgrade and operate hydropower systems in the face of increasingly variable climatic and hydrological conditions.

Launched at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris on 15 May 2019, the guide introduces an innovative methodology for assessing climate risks and identifying corresponding climate resilience measures.

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Departing from traditional approaches that rely on historical information about past climatic and hydrological conditions, the guide provides a practical framework for assessing the projected impacts of climate change on hydropower systems. This includes guidance for selecting appropriate measures and operational procedures that build climate resilience across a range of scenarios, and for the development of a climate risk management plan.

Announcing the new guide, IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor said: “The hydropower sector is part of the solution to climate change, providing clean, renewable electricity and vital freshwater management to help communities manage the impacts of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.

“While providing essential adaptation services, hydropower facilities are not immune to the changing climate. This guide offers new international good practice guidance to help project operators and developers identify, assess and manage climate risks to enhance the resilience of proposed and existing hydropower projects.”

The guide was developed by IHA with technical and financial support provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank Group (WBG) and its Korea Green Growth Trust Fund (KGGTF).

It is intended for hydropower projects of all types, scales and geographies, and suitable for upgrade and greenfield projects. The six-phase methodology looks at climate risk screening, data analysis, climate stress testing, climate risk management, and monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

“Greater investment in hydropower is needed as part of the transition towards low-carbon and climate-resilient energy systems” said Craig Davies, Head of Climate Resilience Investments at the EBRD. “This guide will play an important role in helping financial institutions to scale up both the quantity and the quality of their investment in climate-resilient hydropower.”

“The World Bank Group welcomes the international hydropower industry’s Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide,” said Pravin Karki, Global Lead Hydropower and Dams at WBG. “Climate risks, if not adequately addressed in planning and operations, could drastically undermine hydropower investments. There is an urgent need to actively prepare for the resiliency of hydropower assets in the face of increased frequency of extreme weather events and rapid changes in hydrological patterns to reduce the risk of climate-related disruptions.”

“The World Bank Group works to ensure that its hydropower and other energy investments are adapted to climate change, and create financial mechanisms to encourage upfront investments in resilient hydropower infrastructure,” he continued.

To download the Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide, visit: hydropower.org/climateresilienceguide

 

Notes for Editors:

The IHA Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide was developed over a three-year period in consultation with major hydropower developers, owners and operators, intergovernmental and not-for-profit organisations, international consultancies and independent experts.

Throughout 2018 and early 2019, several hydropower projects tested the draft guide and provided feedback on its applicability. Projects involved in the testing were: Drin River Hydropower Cascade, Albania; Jirau Hydropower Plant, Brazil; Kabeli A Hydroelectric Project, Nepal; Mpatamanga Hydropower Project, Malawi; Nenskra Hydropower Project, Georgia; Romaine Hydropower Complex, Canada; and Qairokkum Hydropower Plant, Tajikistan.

Learn more about the International Hydropower Association's climate resilience knowledge building programme.

For further information, please contact María Ubierna, IHA Hydropower Specialist and Knowledge Building Team Focal Point (mu@hydropower.org)

 

About IHA

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit membership organisation committed to sustainable hydropower. Our mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. We achieve this through sector monitoring, advancing strategies that strengthen performance, and building an open, innovative and trusted platform for knowledge.

The World Hydropower Congress, 14-16 May 2019, has brought together representatives of industry, government, finance, civil society and academia from more than 70 countries to set priorities for the hydropower sector. Under the theme ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’, the congress explores hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. For highlights from the first two days of the congress, visit: www.hydropower.org/congress

 

Media Contact

Will Henley
Head of Communications
International Hydropower Association
t:  +44 7507 661 755
e:  will.henley@hydropower.org

The 2019 World Hydropower Congress opened in Paris on Tuesday with delegates sharing perspectives on the role of hydropower in helping countries achieve national priorities and bringing social, economic and environmental benefits to communities.

In his speech at the opening plenary, IHA President Ken Adams welcomed the 750 participants and partners from more than 70 countries that are taking part in this year’s event, which is organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

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“Joining us in Paris at this seventh World Hydropower Congress are more than 50 partners from all parts of the world representing civil society organisations, international organisations, science, finance, business, academia and government,” said Mr Adams.

The theme of the 2019 congress is ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’ which focuses on hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr Adams stressed the importance of collaboration between the hydropower sector and wider communities and highlighted IHA’s work to champion sustainable practices. “The spirit of IHA has always been to engage in dialogue with stakeholders from different countries, sectors and backgrounds. We believe that stronger outcomes are ensured when objectives are shared and dialogue is open.

“The largest community which we are all a part of is the human community, living on a planet facing unprecedented stress and having to build consensus and achieve action to build a more sustainable future. We support the Sustainable Development Goals and believe the targets set by the Paris Agreement require us all to work harder to ensure that renewable energy can be provided to all in a sustainable way,” he said.

Maria Donoso, Director of Water Sciences at UNESCO, said her organisation was proud to be associated with the World Hydropower Congress as one of the co-convenors.

“This an opportunity to showcase the critical contribution of hydropower in addressing sustainable development challenges,” she said. “To reach Article 2 of the Paris Agreement there is a need to reduce emissions, notably by limiting the production of energy from coal sources and by embracing renewable sources of energy such as hydropower.

“Hydropower infrastructure also has a key role to play in adaptation. It provides water services, including water supply, irrigation, navigation, flood control, drought mitigation, and energy security, and facilitates regional cooperation,” she said.

Riccardo Puliti, the World Bank Group’s Head of Energy and Extractive Resources Global Practice, said his organisation backs the sustainable development of hydropower. “We are supportive for three main reasons: we believe that hydropower is key to reaching the Paris Agreement, we view hydropower as essential for increasing the integration of renewable energy into the world’s power systems, and we support hydropower’s role in improving regional integrated water resource management.”

Despite its promise, globally, investment in the renewable sector has slowed, warned Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA plans to dedicate its next renewable energy report to hydropower, he said.

“Hydropower - why are we so keen? Because of its potential, especially in Africa,” said Dr Birol. “Today in Sub-Saharan Africa two out of three people have no access to electricity. Morally, it is a shame for all of us.

“We think hydropower can provide a lot of benefits to our societies, ranging from electricity access in emerging economies, reduction of CO2 emissions, reduction of air pollution, and we can nicely integrate it with solar and wind,” he added.

The opening session of the World Hydropower Congress on 14 May 2019 also saw speeches from representatives of business and non-profit organisations, and ministers and senior officials from Guatemala, India, Nepal, Norway, Sarawak (Malaysia) and the United States.

The importance of ensuring that energy and economic development goals are balanced with social and environmental priorities, including protecting biodiversity, was a message which echoed through the interventions.

Jean-Bernard Levy, CEO of EDF, said his organisation had adopted six Corporate Social Responsibility Goals which echo the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including a goal for the company to have a positive effect on biodiversity.

Mr Levy noted the flexibility and storage capabilities of renewable, rechargeable hydropower. “Hydropower is today the most efficient technology to store significant energy quantities, especially pumped storage plants (PSP). This is why PSPs are a key part of our so-called EDF Storage Plan which aims at developing 10 GW of energy storage capacity worldwide by 2035, among which 2 GW will be fulfilled by PSPs,” he said.

Earlier this year the Indian government approved measures to promote hydropower development including declaring large hydro projects as renewable. Joint Secretary of Power Shri Aniruddha Kumar told delegates that “hydropower undoubtedly has a major role to play” in achieving renewable targets, as he restated his government’s commitment to a rigorous approvals process for new projects.

“We do not want to push development at the cost of the environment or the people. Projects are only going to be approved for construction after rigorous environmental impact studies and implementation of detailed environment management plans,” he said.

Elliot Harris, Assistant Secretary General for UNDESA, said: “The potential of hydropower in its contribution to both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development is huge, however the development of hydropower does not come without potential environmental and social costs. So it is critical that hydropower developments take measures to maximise benefits and compensate for any costs.”

Mr Harris pointed to the example of Itaipu Binacional, which operates the Itaipu power plant, as an example of good practice in this endeavour. “The experience of Itaipu Binacional shows how it is possible to promote the conservation of biodiversity and local cultures while at the same time harnessing the power of hydropower resources for energy, economic development and climate action.”

The opening plenary concluded with an intervention from renewable energy cultural ambassador and former Eurovision singer Ruslana who spoke about her efforts to widen public awareness of the goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity generation.

The World Hydropower Congress continues on Wednesday 15 May and Thursday 16 May with more than 200 speakers addressing 40 focused sessions and workshops on topics such as sustainability, climate resilience, data solutions, working with indigenous communities, and supporting growth in other renewables.

View and download photos from our Flickr website: www.flickr.com/photos/hydropower

Find out more online: www.hydropower.org/congress

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