Hydropower sustainability fund now open to over 40 countries worldwide
Hydropower project developers and operators can apply for funding to help finance an independent assessment of a project’s sustainability performance.
As renewable energy capacity scales up globally, project developers and operators are tasked with ensuring that electricity generation does not come at the expense of unsustainable impacts on local communities or the environment.
In the hydropower sector, a sustainability fund backed by the Swiss government - and supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and the Hydropower Sustainability Council - is helping companies to assess their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
As of February 2022, the fund is now open to applications from projects in over 40 countries across the world.
Hydropower projects of all sizes and at any stage of development can apply for the funding to help conduct an independent assessment using an international recognised and sector-specific ESG tool.
The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG) assesses performance across twelve topics including biodiversity, cultural heritage, climate change mitigation and resilience, and water quality. This assessment is used to gain certification under the Hydropower Sustainability Standard.
João Costa, Head of Sustainability at the International Hydropower Association (IHA), said: “The HESG Assessment Fund was established to make sustainability assessments accessible to all hydropower projects.
“Our goal is to help hydropower developers in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas benchmark and raise their social and environmental performance. I would like to congratulate the previous winners of the HESG grant and encourage projects to apply for the upcoming round of funding.”
Sustainability assessment using the HESG tool is a crucial step in a project’s sustainability journey. As well as highlighting strengths and areas for improvement, the assessment can help demonstrate a project’s eligibility for green bonds and is a prerequisite for certification against the Hydropower Sustainability Standard.
This initiative, funded by the Swiss Government’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), is now in its fourth round of funding and recently awarded six grants across six countries in Africa and South America.
Building on the success of previous rounds, the new call for proposals is open to projects from the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, Rwanda, Serbia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.