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On 18–20 June, we participated in the biennial meeting of the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme in Paris, France. The meeting included a special session on "hydropower and its role in the water–energy nexus".

UNESCO-IHP logoThis session was moderated by Bianca Jiménez Cisneros, secretary of the International Hydrological Programme.

Richard M Taylor, executive director of the International Hydropower Association, addressed participants about hydropower development worldwide, as well as our research on greenhouse-gas of freshwater reservoirs and the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.

Cícero Bley Jr, co-ordinator of the Hydroinformatics International Centre (a UNESCO-Category 2 Centre), spoke about the utilisation of available energy sources related to water and wastewater in Brazil's Sao Francisco Verdadeiro basin. You can read more about this here.

Engin Koncagül, programme officer of the UN World Water Assessment Programme, presented on the seven main messages of the United Nations World Water Development Report 2014 “Water and Energy”, which you can download here.

Finally, András Szöllösi-Nagy, rector of UNESCO Institute for Water Education, spoke about the institute's role in meeting training needs and capacity building in the hydropower sector. Click here to find out more about the institute's course on the design of hydropower schemes.

On Tuesday 1 July at 12.00 to 13.30 GMT, we are teaming up with our REN Alliance partners and the International Renewbable Energy Agency (IRENA) to host a webinar on renewables integration.

The webinar will explore how 100 per cent renewable energy supply is possible based on case studies demonstrating how the technologies work together, and discuss the real costs of renewable energy. 

You can sign up for the webinar here. The agenda will include:

  • Introduction: the way to a 100 per cent renewable energy future
  • Case studies – renewable technologies integrated
  • Wind energy in combination with hydro energy
  • Geothermal energy combined with hydro and solar energy
  • Renewable energy : the true costs
  • Concluding remarks: renewables working together
  • General discussion and questions with audience

The speakers include:

  • Stefan Gsänger: secretary general of the World Wind Energy Association
  • Marietta Sander: executive director of the International Geothermal Association
  • Oliver Griffiths: programme director, hydropower development, International Hydropower Association
  • Michael Taylor: analyst, renewable energy cost status and outlook at IRENA
  • Karin Haara: executive director of the World Bioenergy Association

This webinar follows a side event the REN Alliance partners held at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Bonn Climate Change Conference 2014 on 11 June.

The REN Alliance provides a combined voice for renewable energy technology and practice. We were one of its founding members at the Bonn 2004 Renewable Energy Conference along with the

International Geothermal Association (IGA), International Solar Energy Society (ISES), World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and World Bioenergy Association (WBA).

IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy.

On 7–9 April 2014, 35 specialists and scientists from around the world gathered in Knoxville, Tennessee, to begin the production of guidelines that will help companies to better understand greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from reservoirs.

Greenhouse gasesThe GHG modelling workshop was hosted by IEA-Hydro and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The guidelines will enable companies and institutions to develop consistent computer models to measure GHG fluxes.

IHA participated in the workshop. The workstream is an important part of the association's efforts to develop robust evidence on the level of greenhouse gas emissions that can be attributed to individual hydropower developments, and to promote a better understanding of the subject. High-quality models will enable issues to be identified, and help efforts to minimise emissions from future schemes.

The highly productive workshop marked a closer co-operation between IHA and IEA-Hydro. The final guidance is likely to be published in mid-2015. To find out more about our work on GHG emissions and other topics, you can download a copy of our 2014 Activity Report.

You can find out more about IEA-Hydro here.

The multiple roles of hydropower, and the relationship between renewable energy and water will be discussed during the celebrations of World Water Day on 20–21 March 2014 in Tokyo.

World Water DayThe event is organized by UN University and UNIDO on behalf of UN-Water. Hydropower (including pumped storage) is trending towards a role which is complementary to mixed energy systems, and hydro generation often acts as the buffer between supply and demand for electricity energy. 

Hydropower can also act as a frequency regulator and energy storage, and deliver a range of other ‘ancilliary’ benefits. Storing energy in water, which is one of the few efficient, proven and flexible methodology available at the utility scale, also provides benefits in terms of navigation, flood control and environmental services.

Working in partnership

We are collaborating with the UN-University FLORES and the Centre for Environmental Design of Renewable Energy (CEDREN) to bring together interested parties at World Water Day and the upcoming World Water Week in Stockholm (September 2014) 

The China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) and IHA extended their collaboration by renewing their co-operation agreement last week, 26 February.  The agreement lays out plans for mutually beneficial work in the next two years, and the continuation of the IHA China office, which is hosted by the institute.

The IHA China Office is the main point of contact for Chinese members and a primary platform for exchange between IHA and operators, developers, governmental and non-governmental organisations active in hydroelectricity in China. The office is involved in communications and outreach activities, as well as support for the sustainability and hydropower development work programmes.

The office will have a special role in the preparations of the next World Hydropower Congress, which will take place in Beijing, 18-22 May 2015.

About IWHR

The Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) is a reference research centre on water resources and hydropower in China.  The Institute is affiliated with the Ministry of Water Resources.  It is responsible for the research tasks encountered in major hydro projects, state five-year plan key programs of science and major programs funded by the Government of China.

At present, the institute has over 1,300 staff members, 12 research departments and 32 laboratories. You can find out more at www.iwhr.com.

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