11 July 2018
A multi-stakeholder coalition of civil society, industry, governments and financial institutions today launched an expanded suite of tools for assessing hydropower projects against sustainability performance criteria.
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, the world’s leading scoring framework for evaluating hydropower projects, has been updated to examine hydropower’s carbon footprint and resilience to climate change. In addition, a new tool will enable project proponents and investors to identify and address gaps against international good practice.The new suite of tools was developed over 18 months by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, which is constituted by organisations such as the World Bank, The Nature Conservancy, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, WWF, the Inter-American Development Corporation, hydropower companies and governments.
“Today marks the most significant expansion in the tools available to assess hydropower performance in almost a decade, following extensive consultation within and beyond the hydropower sector,” commented Mr Roger Gill, Chair of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol’s governance committee.
“This is good news for both project proponents and concerned stakeholders who want to measure projects against international practice. Developers and investors now have a targeted, cost effective way of assessing sustainability, while governments and communities can be confident that evaluations are based on robust, objective criteria,” he added.
The new suite of tools comprises:An expanded sustainability protocol
An expansion of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, first launched in 2010, to cover best and good practice in climate mitigation and resilience. A project that scores well under the new criteria will have a low carbon footprint and be resilient to the impacts of climate change.
A targeted gap analysis tool
A new Hydropower Sustainability Environmental, Social and Governance Gap Analysis Tool. Modelled on the Protocol’s evaluation framework, the ESG Tool offers a targeted assessment across 12 core sections, including biodiversity, downstream flows, project affected communities, cultural heritage, working conditions, and infrastructure safety, as well as climate change.
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) supports the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council as the Protocol’s management body, overseeing the training and accreditation of independent assessors. Assessments can be made at all stages of a hydropower project’s lifetime, from preparation, to development and operation.
Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, commented:
“With this announcement, the hydropower sector now has two ways to demonstrate the sustainability credentials of a project. The ESG Tool will allow companies to identify good practice and address gaps through a management plan, providing vital reassurance to investors and other stakeholders. For companies that require a more comprehensive assessment, the Protocol remains the first choice for benchmarking a project and showcasing how it performs against international good practice and proven best practice.”
Doug Smith, an accredited assessor who helped to develop the expanded suite of tools, said:
“The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol’s new climate change topic will underline its status as the leading tool for hydropower assessment, reflecting newly built consensus in both greenhouse-gas emissions and climate resilience. The ESG Tool’s impact on the sector could also be profound, as the assessments will be systematic and rapid, without compromising rigour, and will include an action plan to close any gaps against good practice.”
Dr James Dalton, Director of the Global Water Programme at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), commented:
“Developing tools and guidelines to help guide society with the resource management choices we face is critical to our future economic, social and environmental development. The hydropower industry has learned from the last eight years of Protocol experience. Building this experience into the Protocol and the new ESG tool is critical to help industry and investors learn, gain confidence in the tools, and expand the use of the Protocol.”
Luiz Gabriel Todt de Azevedo, Chief of the Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Division of IDB Invest, part of the Inter-American Development Corporation, commented that the new ESG Tool aligns with the Protocol’s goal of promoting sustainable hydropower.
“The new ESG Tool responds to industry demands. It is an agile and low-cost alternative to be employed by developers and operators in the first level assessment of their projects,” he said.
The tool was developed by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) under the mandate of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council and with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol was developed in response to the World Commission on Dams, which showed the need for the hydropower sector to have a global tool for reporting sustainability.
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, which governs the Protocol, includes environmental NGOs and IGOs (The Nature Conservancy, WWF, IUCN), social NGOs (Transparency International, Women for Water Partnership), development banks (World Bank Group, Inter-American Development Corporation), governments (Norway, Switzerland), and hydropower sector owners and contractors.
The new ESG Tool focuses on 12 sections: Environmental and social impact assessment and management; Labour and working conditions; Downstream flows, sedimentation and water quality; Project-affected communities and livelihoods; Resettlement; Indigenous peoples; Biodiversity and invasive species; Cultural heritage; Infrastructure safety; Climate change mitigation and resilience; Communications and consultation; and Governance and procurement.
To download the suite of tools and find out more information, please visit: hydropower.org/sustainability
27 June 2018
There is growing demand for energy access across Africa, a continent with a total installed hydropower capacity of 35.3 GW and large untapped potential for new hydropower projects.
Water scarcity however remains a main challenge in many countries, so it is vital that resources are managed sustainably.
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) led a recent workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, where representatives from hydropower companies, government and a range of other sectors learned how an internationally recognised sustainability tool can be used to assess planned or existing projects.
The workshop, part of the International Water Stewardship Programme’s (IWaSP) Water Stewardship for Sustainable Hydropower conference, looked at how the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol works and the value it provides, as well as a number of recent enhancements to the tool.
In Africa, the Protocol has been used to assess the sustainability of operations at the Cahora Bassa hydropower plant in Mozambique, as well as to undertake early stage assessments of several projects in Ghana. Several operators in the Zambezi river basin have also applied the Protocol in self-assessments, having been assisted by accredited assessors.
The Protocol has proven to be highly valuable when promoting stakeholder awareness and involvement, and addressing environmental and freshwater management, according to Frank Faraday, IHA’s Sustainability Programme Manager.
“The challenge is working out how to get sustainability mainstreamed within decision-making in places where resources are much more constrained,” he said. “We need to think about how the Protocol can be embedded more into internal processes within companies.”
The 7 June workshop was attended by 25 participants and held with the support of GiZ, the German government’s international development agency. The programme included a discussion on applying the Protocol for use on small-scale hydropower projects in developing countries.
João Costa, IHA Sustainability Specialist, said: “A lot of the small-scale hydropower developers in attendance were very interested in the Protocol as it provides a clear reference for good practice in sustainability. Training opportunities and building internal staff capacity were discussed as good starting points for incorporating use of the Protocol into small-scale projects.”
The IWaSP conference explored how water stewardship approaches can address current scarcity challenges and add value to existing models of hydropower development and operation. IHA participated in an IWaSP conference workshop on hydropower benefits.
One of the participants of the conference workshop, Anton-Louis Olivier, CEO of Renewable Energy Holdings Group, discussed the role of stakeholder participation in increasing the value of hydropower infrastructure.
“We, as project developers, contribute as good neighbours to the uplifting and maintenance of society, ecology and system infrastructures,” said Mr Olivier, recipient of IHA’s Mosonyi Award at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress.
“Project development requires us to navigate through a highly complex set of interrelated factors – technical, environmental, social, legal and commercial – in order to structure a viable and sustainable project.
“The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol provides a clear set of principles to refer to and check throughout the development process in order to manage risks and improve project sustainability, specifically relating to social and environmental factors,” he added.
“In order to fairly share the benefits of a project with local communities and other stakeholders, it is important to understand its impacts by identifying and quantifying both the power and non-power benefits,” said Cristina Diez, IHA Hydropower Analyst, who also spoke at the conference workshop.
“As many of hydropower’s benefits are often misunderstood or under-reported, part of our work has been to provide a framework for collecting evidence.”
IHA has been building and sharing knowledge on the wide-ranging benefits of hydropower since it was founded in 1995. To find out more about the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol visit the Hydropower Sustainability website. Learn more about IHA’s hydropower benefits work programme.
For the latest information and statistics on hydropower in Africa, download the 2018 Hydropower Status Report.
19 June 2018
The International Hydropower Association has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition.
The partnership represents IHA's commitment to promoting the role and contribution of women in the energy sector, particularly in the transition to a low carbon future. It also includes the promotion of mentoring, networking and coaching opportunities to encourage the increased participation of women in decision-making positions.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Richard Taylor, IHA’s Chief Executive, and Christine Lins, founding member of the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) on 6 June.
Mr Taylor said: “Our mission to advance sustainable hydropower includes building a vibrant, inclusive and proactive community. We’re proud to be a strategic partner of GWNET, a network which shares these values, as we look towards decarbonisation and a clean energy future.”
GWNET was founded in 2017 to address the energy sector’s current gender imbalance and promote gender-sensitive action around the energy transition worldwide.
According to its founders, GWNET empowers women in energy through interdisciplinary networking, advocacy, training, coaching and mentoring, and services related to projects and financing.
“GWNET is thrilled to work with the International Hydropower Association to raise the voice of women in hydro, thereby bringing fresh perspectives to the development of societies, attracting and retaining a richer pool of talent in the sector and advancing the energy transition more quickly,” commented Ms Lins.
The new partnership advances on IHA’s recent support of the Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program, which provides a platform for women to connect, make friendships and share experiences in a supportive environment.
Christine Cantin, IHA Board member and Senior Advisor at Hydro-Québec voiced her support for IHA's new partnership with GWNET. Ms Cantin has been an advocate of the Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program since it started in 2016.
“Inclusion and diversity foster and enrich the work environment. Hydropower and women are key actors in the global energy transition, so it is by being associated with initiatives of this kind that we will promote gender diversity progress and a more sustainable world,” she said.
Find out more about GWNET by visiting its website.
18 June 2018
The International Hydropower Association addressed the challenges of managing freshwater and the opportunities provided by hydropower at an Institute of Mechanical Engineers seminar in London.
Participants at the event heard how worldwide hydropower installed capacity had reached 1,267 GW in 2017 – an increase of over 20 GW from 2016.
“Hydropower plays a role in more than 150 countries; it’s a widely distributed technology and industry,” said IHA’s Chief Executive Richard Taylor during his keynote speech.
“The management of freshwater is probably the biggest challenge faced by mankind this century," and we will need water infrastructure, especially as the developing world needs increased water services.
“To be able to deliver on the increasing demand, with a finite resource, we will need infrastructure to store water. Hydropower can contribute to that infrastructure by providing services and revenues which can justify the investment.”
Mr Taylor also explained how IHA’s work programmes can help to fill sector knowledge gaps and discussed the reporting benefits of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, an internationally recognised tool used to assess the performance of projects at various stages in their life cycles.
The Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) seminar was entitled ‘Hydropower Engineering: Technologies, Projects and Future Developments’.
IHA was a supporting partner at the 14 June event, which featured presentations on key hydropower projects and recent sector developments, as well as a panel discussion on hydropower potential in the UK.
IHA members Andritz Hydro and Voith Hydro were represented among the day’s speakers, where asset management and pumped storage hydropower proved common themes of discussion.
Lars Meier, Head of Proposal Management at Voith Hydro, shared technical details on the upcoming modernisation of the Ffestiniog Power Station in North Wales, which was the UK’s first major pumped storage facility.
Ffestiniog, having been commissioned in 1963, is considered an “ageing plant” and modernisation work is due to start in January 2019.
Sean Kelly, project manager at SSE Generation Development, discussed the importance of pumped storage for a grid which is “changing fundamentally since it was set up in the early twentieth century.”
Mr Kelly said: “Pumped storage is an essential tool for system operators to balance the grid. We need to find a way to ensure that all the benefits pumped storage brings to the grid are recognised.” A decrease in pumped storage investment would mean finding alternative solutions, leading to “higher costs to the consumer, slower decarbonisation and probably less energy security.”
Other topics of discussion included tidal power, hydropower technology and the future of hydropower.
For more information on hydropower’s current challenges and opportunities worldwide, download the 2018 Hydropower Status Report.
To find out more about the IMechE event, visit its webpage.
14 June 2018
Plans for the 2019 World Hydropower Congress have been presented at an intergovernmental meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its headquarters in Paris.
Governments heard that the international gathering of hydropower leaders and decision-makers in May 2019 will focus on international collaboration, capacity building and innovation in the hydropower sector.
Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) in partnership with UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the congress will be attended by representatives from government, finance, investment, research, business and civil society from up to 100 countries.
“The 2019 World Hydropower Congress will mark 25 years of collaboration between IHA and UNESCO on water and energy synergies. More than 50 partner organisations will join forces to steer the future role of hydropower during this strategic event,” said Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA.
Mr Taylor was addressing the International Hydrological Programme’s governing body, the Intergovernmental Council, at its 23rd session, taking place from 13 to 15 June 2018.
With the theme of ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’, the Paris World Hydropower Congress will be by hosted by UNESCO between 14 and 16 May 2019. A particular focus will be given to hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Blanca Jimenez-Cisneros, Director of the Division of Water Sciences and Secretary of the International Hydrological Programme, said: “At UNESCO we recognise that the water world is strongly interconnected with that of energy. We look forward to important outcomes from the World Hydropower Congress in 2019, where we will analyse how the water-energy nexus is a fundamental part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The last Congress was hosted by the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2017.
The 2019 programme will cover hydropower’s role in sustainable, clean energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. The event will be preceded by a series of high-level meetings on the water-energy nexus, as well as specialist workshops.
Further details on the Paris 2019 World Hydropower Congress, including information on participation and partnerships the can be obtained from the IHA website: www.hydropower.org/congress.