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The 2015 World Hydropower Congress has opened in Beijing, China, with 1,000 representatives of government, civil society, finance, academia and industry gathering to discuss the future direction of the sector.

Ken Adams opening ceremony speechIn an opening speech to delegates, Ken Adams said: “If we are to meet the challenges of a changing climate and global freshwater management, the contribution of hydropower and the multiple benefits it provides cannot be ignored.”

The first part of the opening ceremony focused on recent and planned hydropower development in China, with a number of VIP speakers from the country’s thriving sector addressing participants.

Liu Qi, director of the National Energy Association of China, commented on the challenges faced by the hydropower sector in the 21st century. He spoke of the need for the industry to meet the growing demands for affordable and renewable sources of energy, saying that “hydropower is inseparable from human life and social development”.

Wang Shucheng, president of the Chinese National Committee on Large Dams, spoke of the challenges in meeting growing demand for energy while addressing environmental impacts. He said: “The international hydropower community needs to join hands and work out effective solutions.”

Wang Lin, president of China Three Gorges Corporation, spoke on both the successes and challenges faced by the China Three Gorges project. He discussed issues surrounding resettlement, suggesting that future development could learn from the model of compensation and assistance which the project pioneered.

He said that “hydropower sustainability is associated with the wellbeing of the whole of society”.

The second part of the opening ceremony brought together high-level representatives from some of the sector’s most active countries for a panel discussion on international collaboration.

Jin-Yong Cai, CEO of the International Finance Corporation, said: “Middle income and large emerging economies are influencing the development of hydropower worldwide through demonstration effects – by showing how these projects can be managed well to the benefit of their populations."

Mike Muller, commissioner of the National Planning Commission in South Africa, spoke about the challenges for developers in the southern Africa region, particularly in the Zambezi river basin. 

He noted how development has been stalled by the diversion of funds away from hydropower, saying that “banning hydropower from global public funds to mitigate climate change is disgraceful”.

Arun Kumar Verma, joint secretary (hydro) of the ministry of power in India, Wencai Zhang, vice president of the Asian Development Bank, and Gil Maranhão Neto, vice president of the International Hydropower Association, also provided regional insights.

You can find out more about the 2015 World Hydropower Congress here

Luiz Gabriel Azevedo, Jean-Étienne Klimpt and Dr Helen Locher have been announced at the winners of the 2015 Mosonyi Award for Excellence in Hydropower. 

Mosonyi Award 2015 winnersThe award recognises outstanding contributions to the hydropower sector. 

Mr Azevedo and Dr Locher were presented with the award by IHA president Ken Adams at the opening banquet of the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, China. Mr Klimpt was unable to attend the event.

Mr Azevedo has been involved with infrastructure development and environmental management projects in some 30 countries. 

On presenting the award, Mr Adams paid tribute to Mr Azevedo’s “consistent commitment to sustainable hydropower” through the many diverse organisations he has worked for, including WWF, the World Bank and Odebrecht (where he is now working).

Helen has 25 years’ experience working on environmental, social and sustainability issues in many contexts. She is currently principal consultant for sustainability at Hydro Tasmania. Mr Adams spoke of her “instrumental role in the creation of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol”. You can find out more about the protocol, which is a tool for measuring the sustainability of hydropower projects, here.

In the absence of Mr Klimpt – a former employee of Hydro-Québec – Mr Adams said that he had a “key role in the development of IHA in special subjects related to sustainability and the development of sustainability guidelines.

The award is named after Emil Mosonyi, the founding president of the International Hydropower Association. Prof Mosonyi, who passed away in 2009 aged 98, made major contributions to hydropower during his long career.


Itaipu Binacional has confirmed that it will be a main sponsor of the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing.

Itaipu Binacional logoThe congress takes place on the 19-21 May, and will explore the future of hydropower, as well as looking at best practice case studies for a range of topics.

Itaipu Binacional’s role as main sponsor will involve contributing to the planning of the congress agenda, and providing financial support.

The company was established in 1974 to build and operate the Itaipu hydropower plant, which today provides 14 per cent of Brazil’s electricity and 79 per cent of Paraguay’s. It will bring expertise to the congress on areas relating to cross-border projects, sustainability, and a perspective on the future development of hydropower.

José Maria Sanchez Tilleria, Itaipu's Binacional's technical director, said: "Itaipu sees the World Hydropower Congress as the most relevant event in the world concerning sustainable hydropower. Helping IHA to foster hydropower sustainability around the globe is fully consistent with Itaipu's vision to pursue the best sustainability practices.

"Furthermore, the congress provides us an unmatchable learning and sharing opportunity. We strongly encourage our associates to participate in this event."

You can watch a video interview with Jorge Habib Hanna El Khouri, engineering superintendent at Itaipu Binacional, here.

You can find out more about the World Hydropower Congress here, or about Itaipu Binacional here

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has been awarded a mark of excellence at the 2015 Association Excellence Awards in the category for best overall international association.

Associations Excellence AwardsThe inaugural awards took place in London on Friday 27 February, at a ceremony gathering around 300 representatives of a range of associations.

The awards distinguish individuals, teams and initiatives, recognising excellence in the way associations operate and serve their members. They emphasise best practice in running successful, responsible and sustainable associations, that also deliver high value to members.  

IHA was also shortlisted in the categories for best website, and best training initiative for IHA Sustainability Partnerships.

You can find out more about the awards here.

Associations Excellence Awards

Sarawak Energy and Hydro-Québec have agreed a memorandum of understanding to share experiences and conduct technical exchanges on hydropower development.

In the video above, Dr Chen Shiun, general manager of research and development at Sarawak Energy, discusses the partnership.

He says: "We think we will be able to learn a lot from the experience in terms of how to address environmental and social issues. This is why we have decided to form a memorandum of understanding – to share information.

"From the Hydro-Québec side, I think that they see that Sarawak has been active in the tropics. In the future there will be many projects in this kind of climate, and they will want to make an effort to contribute in generating new knowledge."

The two companies formed a relationship after meeting at a world congress organised by the International Hydropower Association in Brazil, in 2011. Now that exchanges have grown, the memorandum provides a more formal framework to conduct exchanges on greenhouse gas research profiles of reservoirs, enviornmental follow-up efforts and studies in aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, geomorphology and water quality.

The memorandum is for an initial period of three years, but Dr Chen Shiun says that following on from it "maybe we will discover something else we can share".