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World Hydropower Congress opens in Beijing

World Hydropower Congress opens in Beijing

The 2015 World Hydropower Congress has opened in Beijing, China, with 1,000 representatives of government, civil society, finance, academia and industry gathering to discuss the future direction of the sector.

Ken Adams opening ceremony speechIn an opening speech to delegates, Ken Adams said: “If we are to meet the challenges of a changing climate and global freshwater management, the contribution of hydropower and the multiple benefits it provides cannot be ignored.”

The first part of the opening ceremony focused on recent and planned hydropower development in China, with a number of VIP speakers from the country’s thriving sector addressing participants.

Liu Qi, director of the National Energy Association of China, commented on the challenges faced by the hydropower sector in the 21st century. He spoke of the need for the industry to meet the growing demands for affordable and renewable sources of energy, saying that “hydropower is inseparable from human life and social development”.

Wang Shucheng, president of the Chinese National Committee on Large Dams, spoke of the challenges in meeting growing demand for energy while addressing environmental impacts. He said: “The international hydropower community needs to join hands and work out effective solutions.”

Wang Lin, president of China Three Gorges Corporation, spoke on both the successes and challenges faced by the China Three Gorges project. He discussed issues surrounding resettlement, suggesting that future development could learn from the model of compensation and assistance which the project pioneered.

He said that “hydropower sustainability is associated with the wellbeing of the whole of society”.

The second part of the opening ceremony brought together high-level representatives from some of the sector’s most active countries for a panel discussion on international collaboration.

Jin-Yong Cai, CEO of the International Finance Corporation, said: “Middle income and large emerging economies are influencing the development of hydropower worldwide through demonstration effects – by showing how these projects can be managed well to the benefit of their populations."

Mike Muller, commissioner of the National Planning Commission in South Africa, spoke about the challenges for developers in the southern Africa region, particularly in the Zambezi river basin. 

He noted how development has been stalled by the diversion of funds away from hydropower, saying that “banning hydropower from global public funds to mitigate climate change is disgraceful”.

Arun Kumar Verma, joint secretary (hydro) of the ministry of power in India, Wencai Zhang, vice president of the Asian Development Bank, and Gil Maranhão Neto, vice president of the International Hydropower Association, also provided regional insights.

You can find out more about the 2015 World Hydropower Congress here