Global campaign will highlight hydropower’s role in achieving net zero and energy security

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is spearheading a new campaign calling for urgent investment in hydropower to combat climate change, accelerate progress towards net zero and strengthen energy security.

A coalition of organisations and associations around the world are participating in the campaign, which will run under the slogan We can, with hydropower. The initiative highlights how a pathway to net zero and greater energy resilience is possible by harnessing sustainable hydropower as a complement to variable renewables such as wind and solar.

The campaign comes after world leaders at COP26, the United Nations climate change conference, committed to “phase down coal” and accelerate the shift towards renewables. While the Glasgow Climate Pact was welcome, governments have not made sufficient progress in planning for the transition.

Commitments now need to be translated into policies, investments and tangible action ahead of COP27 in Egypt this November. The new campaign will shine a light on hydropower’s benefits and advance solutions for building a sustainable and secure energy future.

‘We can rapidly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and bring stability and security’

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive for IHA, said: “We cannot afford any more delays in taking action to shift away from fossil fuels like coal. With hydropower, we have a proven, clean technology that can supercharge the deployment of renewable energy systems and set us on the pathway towards net zero.

“By combining the strengths of wind, solar and hydropower, we can rapidly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and bring stability and security to energy grids. Wind and solar energy can be stored in water, and then released quickly whenever we need it.

“Hydropower generates electricity all year round and has low running costs, providing affordable energy for communities over the long term. But projects can take up to a decade to build and require significant upfront investment. If we do not act now, then we will miss our opportunity to set a realistic course for net zero by 2050.”

‘We are at risk of stalling on the progress made at COP26’

Leading voices joining the call for action include former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, Swiss Secretary of State for Energy Benoît Revaz, and sustainability pioneer Dr Ashok Khosla.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Malcolm Turnbull said: “We are at risk of stalling on the progress made at COP26. It will not be possible to deliver on our climate goals unless we start talking seriously about hydropower's role in strengthening renewable energy systems.”

In an article published on in conjunction with the campaign, Erik Solheim, former United Nations diplomat and Norwegian Minister of Environment and International Development, argues the energy transition has gained new urgency due to heightened energy insecurity. “The solution to both lies in an ‘all of the above’ approach to clean energy development,” he says.

Further information

We can, with hydropower is an evidence-based campaign that highlights the many benefits that hydropower can provide to society if developed responsibly and sustainably. These benefits include providing clean, affordable electricity generation and energy security for grids increasingly reliant on fast-growing solar and wind power.  Wider benefits include supporting the decarbonisation of industries, as well as protecting communities through providing water management infrastructure.

The campaign is led and spearheaded by the International Hydropower Association, with support from a coalition of developers, operators, manufacturers and industry associations around the world. Find out more at and follow the hashtag #WithHydropower on social media to stay up to date with the campaign.

The campaign launch coincides with two significant events in the water and energy sectors. World Water Day, an annual United Nations observance day on 22 March, highlights the importance of fresh water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people around the world living without access to safe water.

On 23–24 March, the IEA 2022 Ministerial Meeting will take place in Paris, France. The meeting, chaired by US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, will bring together energy and climate ministers from IEA member, association and accession countries at a critical time for global economy and energy markets.

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