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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. 

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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.”

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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.

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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.

4 January 2018

Since its launch in 2011, the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol has become the leading international tool for measuring the sustainability of hydropower projects.

It is used to assess both new projects and existing facilities according to a range of social, environmental, technical and economic criteria, and has so far been applied in more than 25 countries.

To learn more, watch our short documentary:

Assessing hydropower projects against good practices in sustainability


“The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is really a common language for the sector,” said Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), which has a role in supporting the Protocol’s multi-stakeholder governance committee and in managing assessments.

“It bases itself on two reference points: international good practice and proven best practice.”

The Reventazón Hydroelectric Project in Costa Rica’s Limón province became the first hydropower plant in Central America to be officially assessed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, in 2017.

It is the largest hydropower plant in the region, with an installed capacity of 305.5 MW, providing clean electricity to half a million homes. The project was designed, developed and built between 2012 and 2016 by Costa Rica’s national power company, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).

The project was classed as an example of international good practice overall, and also recognised for achieving proven best practice scores in communications and consultation, infrastructure safety, financial viability, resettlement and public health. 

The results of the Protocol assessment were announced at an international workshop hosted by IHA, the World Bank Group and Costa Rica’s government in San José, Costa Rica, on 27 September 2017.

“Using the Protocol has helped confirm that we are doing things right, and also allows us to consider all aspects of sustainability together,” said Carlos Obregón, Executive President of ICE.

15 December 2017

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) joined nearly 300 climate change and renewable energy experts at the Global Renewable Energy Solutions Showcase (GRESS) at the COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, last month.  

The two day showcase which brought together leading representatives of the wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower sectors, aimed to demonstrate how a 100 per cent renewable energy future is achievable.

Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General of the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and organiser of the showcase between 7 and 8 November 2017, said: “The word ‘GRESS’ comes from Latin and means ‘step’ or move’. This is exactly what we need now: the governments of the world must move fast and take the big decisions to pave the way for a renewable energy future.

“Governments should in particular remove barriers which are preventing citizens and communities from investing in renewable energy and from harvesting their local renewable resources.

“A clear outcome of GRESS is that the renewable energy community, including thousands of companies and millions of citizens around the world, are ready to deliver the solutions that will be necessary for a renewable energy future.”

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Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, one of the speakers, said: “There is no one technology that is the panacea to the challenges posed by climate change. We need all renewables working together in different ways to serve different needs – for power, heat and transport.

“It isn’t the variability of some renewables that is the problem, it is the variability of some political decisions that compromises investment in the sector. There are alarming signs of a slowdown in the rate of progress, notably in Europe, but there is good progress elsewhere.

“A shining light is Central America. Costa Rica delivering 99.6 per cent of the country’s power through renewable energy is an inspiration, as is the flourishing regional market through the Central American Electricity Interconnection System.”

Peter Rae, the World Wind Energy Association’s (WWEA) President, commented: “A broad cross-section of experts spoke at this two day event, which demonstrated that 100 per cent renewable energy is achievable using present technologies and by methods which are in train – particularly storage.”

A summary of GRESS can be found on the event website:

4 December 2017 - A new online resource for researchers, hydropower developers and operating companies seeking to improve sediment management in reservoirs has been launched by the International Hydropower Association.

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The Hydropower Sediment Management Knowledge Hub presents a range of strategies and resources, including 18 case studies from 15 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America and the Pacific.

Sedimentation in river systems is caused by both natural erosion and human activities such as deforestation, mining, agriculture and infrastructure development.

Sediment transport can cause considerable operational and maintenance challenges for hydropower facilities when passing through critical components of water passageways. Dams are typically designed to provide enough storage to offset 50 to 100 years of sediment accumulation, and changes in the sediment regime can ultimately compromise the expected performance and lifetime of a project.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association, said: “If not effectively managed, sediment can have a serious impact on the operations and lifetime of a hydropower facility. As climate change can affect catchment conditions and hydrological patterns, rates of erosion and sedimentation will require even further monitoring and management.

“Drawing upon case studies from around the world, this knowledge hub offers decision-makers, managers and academics a resource for building and sharing knowledge on sediment management.”

The new online hub is hosted jointly by IHA with the support of the South Asia Water Initiative, a partnership between the World Bank and the governments of UK, Australia and Norway. 

Pravin Karki, Global Lead for Hydropower and Dams at the World Bank, said: “The purpose of this web project is to widen awareness about reservoir sediment management. The knowledge hub will equip decision-takers with critical knowledge when developing new hydropower projects, and help existing facilities to identify and implement successful techniques based on tried and tested industry practices.”

Notes to Editors:

Visit the knowledge hub at:

For more information about the hub and IHA’s sediment management knowledge programme, please contact María Ubierna, IHA's Hydropower Sector Analyst at

For media enquiries, please contact Will Henley, IHA's Head of Communications at


New concept proposed to accelerate sustainable hydropower development

Bonn, Germany, 17 November 2017 – The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is partnering with Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) to explore options for a new model which would accelerate sustainable hydropower development worldwide.


The two organisations signed a partnership agreement this week at the COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany. It will see them consult on the concept of a Hydropower Preparation Facility (HPF), which would work with national governments to prioritise potential hydropower project sites according to their sustainability.

The concept could see Hydropower Preparation Facilities established in countries and regions across the world, which would help governments select and prepare hydropower projects before putting them out to tender to the private sector.

Under the model, a project ‘blueprint’, guided by the latest international industry good practice in sustainability, would be created by the facility and then auctioned off. The successful developer would subsequently repay the preparation costs when the project is commissioned, reducing the costs and risks to prospective developers. The facility itself would be resourced through a revolving donor-sourced fund.

The International Hydropower Association has been engaging with governments, financial institutions and NGOs to bring forward the HPF concept following the strong support it received from stakeholders at the World Hydropower Congress in May 2017. 

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, said: “The initiative is about getting the right projects built in the right place, and delivering services where they are needed most, especially in developing countries. The aim is to accelerate sustainable hydropower that fits well with local, national and regional strategies – contributing to cleaner energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate-change solutions. The partnership with SEforALL represents a significant milestone in making this concept a reality.”

Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All, said: “We can only reach universal energy access by 2030 if the shift to renewable energy moves at speed and scale. Best practice hydropower can deliver renewable energy and storage opportunities – offering much needed flexibility. By partnering together, we can help IHA share their leadership and expertise with a much wider audience of sustainable energy policy makers and practitioners. Together, we can go further, faster towards Sustainable Development Goal 7.”

Hydropower Preparation Facilities could assist in defining the energy and water benefits required from a hydropower project by utilising local stakeholder knowledge and public-private partnerships at the early stage, and by checking the viability and sustainability of the project before auction.

The HPF concept avoids the risk premium associated with a private developer attempting to bring forward a project with costly, often complex, assessments and planning, with no certainty that it will be permitted to proceed. By taking a system-scale approach and working closely with host governments and local communities, projects would also have a strong strategic fit within their region.

IHA and SEforAll plan to hold a series of meetings and events over the coming year with key stakeholders to identify a proof of concept for the HPF model. In particular they will assess how HPFs could be driven by revolving funds and utilise refinancing models aligned with the key stages of project development.

Notes to Editors:

About International Hydropower Association

The International Hydropower Association is a non-profit membership organisation formed in 1995. 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. IHA was a pioneer of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol and is actively involved with academic, financial, governmental and non-governmental partners in advancing international industry good practice.

For more information, visit and follow us at @IHA_org

About Sustainable Energy for All

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) empowers leaders to broker partnerships and unlock finance to achieve universal access to sustainable energy, as a contribution to a cleaner, just and prosperous world for all. SEforALL exists to reduce the carbon intensity of energy while making it available to everyone on the planet.

For more information, visit and follow us at @SEforALLorg