Former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull to spearhead international hydropower initiative

Former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull is to help spearhead the global adoption of green and sustainable hydropower, after accepting an invitation to join the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

The non-profit organisation announced today that Mr Turnbull will represent it as co-chair of the International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower, together with the U.S. Department of Energy, 11 countries and more than 60 private organisations. Mr Turnbull will also join IHA’s Board in a non-executive role.

The intergovernmental forum was launched in November 2020 with the goal of developing policy proposals and market reforms to overcome barriers to new hydropower projects.

Modelling by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) suggests pumped storage hydropower capacity needs to almost double in the next 30 years to support the energy transition and meet the Paris Agreement climate targets.

Mr Turnbull said: “There is an urgent need to engage policy-makers at the highest-level all around the world about hydropower’s vital importance to the energy transition. Without the clean, long duration storage that pumped hydro can provide, countries could face the unpleasant choice of recommissioning fossil fuel plants or having to face the reality of regular blackouts.”

IHA Chief Executive Eddie Rich said: “Malcolm Turnbull is a prescient global leader: one of the first to recognise that the rapid growth of intermittent renewable energy would require urgent investment in clean and large-scale energy storage.

“As Prime Minister of Australia, in response to growing concerns about the security and sustainability of the country’s electricity supply, he personally championed the historic Snowy Hydro 2.0 and Battery of the Nation schemes in New South Wales and Tasmania.

“Leaders across the world can learn much from Malcolm’s desire and action to combat climate change by harnessing sustainable hydropower to support variable renewables. His appointment in these two roles provides a big boost to the role of sustainable hydropower to supercharge the energy transition.”

Operating in over 120 countries, IHA’s members include leading hydropower owners and operators, developers, designers, suppliers and consultants. Around a third (450 GW) of global installed hydropower capacity is directly managed and operated by its membership.

Find out more about IHA’s membership and mission.

Learn about the International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower.

Watch Malcolm Turnbull speak at an IHA panel on 3 February 2021.

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