India’s Teesta-V hydropower station awarded 2021 IHA Blue Planet Prize
The 2021 IHA Blue Planet Prize for excellence in sustainable hydropower development has been awarded to the Teesta-V hydropower project in India, operated by NHPC Limited.
The prize was awarded by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) on 23 September 2021, the penultimate day of the biennial World Hydropower Congress. The award recognises hydropower projects which have demonstrated their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance by undergoing a detailed assessment by independent assessors.
During its assessment, NHPC Limited’s 510 MW Teesta-V project, located on the Teesta River in Sikkim, Northern India, met or exceeded international good practice across all 20 performance criteria using the Hydropower Sustainability Tools.
‘Inspire us to achieve higher standards’
Chairman and Managing Director Abhay Kumar Singh said: “This is a proud moment for NHPC and will encourage and inspire us to achieve higher standards in sustainability for hydropower project development and operation.
“On behalf of NHPC Limited, I express our sincere gratitude to the International Hydropower Association for awarding the prestigious IHA Blue Planet Prize to NHPC’s Teesta-V Hydroelectric Power station.”
The Teesta-V project met proven international best practice in six topics, including project benefits, public health, cultural heritage, erosion and sedimentation, and asset reliability and efficiency. In addition, the project exceeded international good practice in nine topics and met basic good practice in the remainder.
The independent assessment report highlights how NHPC Limited has designed and implemented processes to manage its impacts on local communities and the environment. In doing so, the project has provided significant positive benefits, including providing low-cost electricity and employment to the region.
Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA said: “We are delighted to award the 2021 IHA Blue Planet Prize to NHPC Limited’s Teesta-V station. The project has demonstrated a real commitment to transparency and good practice, and can hopefully act as a model in the region. No project is perfect and the path to sustainability can sometimes be bumpy, so we welcome NHPC Limited’s passion for sustainable development and encourage them to pursue this ambition beyond the recognition of the IHA Blue Planet Prize.”
Teesta-V is part of a cascade of hydropower projects along the Teesta River designed to supply power to Sikkim’s Energy & Power Department and other state-owned distribution companies in India’s eastern region.
The sustainability assessment was conducted by a team of independent accredited assessors using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) from January to June 2019.
Dr Joerg Hartmann, lead assessor of the project said: “This assessment helped NHPC identify strengths as well as weaknesses in the Teesta-V project. These lessons can now be applied across the company’s entire project portfolio, and because NHPC chose to be transparent with the results, across the entire Indian hydropower sector.
“In fact, some of the best practices identified in the assessment – such as conducting a follow-up Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) ten years after project commissioning, to verify initial predictions of impacts and the effectiveness of mitigation measures – should be considered by project owners everywhere.”
Notes for Editors:
The 2021 World Hydropower Congress, 7-24 September, brings together industry, governments, multilateral and financial institutions, civil society and community groups to set priorities for future hydropower development. The online, free-to-access event showcases how sustainable hydropower – the world’s largest renewable energy source – is part of the solution to climate change.
Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the World Hydropower Congress is an opportunity to hear how the massive roll-out of solar and wind power is dependent on the clean generation, storage and grid resilience services offered by sustainable hydropower.
The World Hydropower Congress has seen a range of other announcements and commitments made by and on behalf of the hydropower sector, including:
• the San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower committing the hydropower sector to better practice.
• the Hydropower Sustainability Standard, a new certification scheme for industry governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Council.
• the Hydropower 2050 Report by IHA on the next 850 GW of potential capacity to meet global net zero emissions targets.
• the International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower, co-chaired by the US Department of Energy and former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, published three new reports on the future of the world’s water batteries.
• an historic no-go commitment by IHA on hydropower in World Heritage Sites and a duty of care commitment for other Protected Areas.
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