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27 June 2018

There is growing demand for energy access across Africa, a continent with a total installed hydropower capacity of 35.3 GW and large untapped potential for new hydropower projects.

Water scarcity however remains a main challenge in many countries, so it is vital that resources are managed sustainably.


IHA's Frank Faraday addresses participants at the Protocol workshop.

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) led a recent workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, where representatives from hydropower companies, government and a range of other sectors learned how an internationally recognised sustainability tool can be used to assess planned or existing projects.

The workshop, part of the International Water Stewardship Programme’s (IWaSP) Water Stewardship for Sustainable Hydropower conference, looked at how the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol works and the value it provides, as well as a number of recent enhancements to the tool.

In Africa, the Protocol has been used to assess the sustainability of operations at the Cahora Bassa hydropower plant in Mozambique, as well as to undertake early stage assessments of several projects in Ghana. Several operators in the Zambezi river basin have also applied the Protocol in self-assessments, having been assisted by accredited assessors.

The Protocol has proven to be highly valuable when promoting stakeholder awareness and involvement, and addressing environmental and freshwater management, according to Frank Faraday, IHA’s Sustainability Programme Manager.

“The challenge is working out how to get sustainability mainstreamed within decision-making in places where resources are much more constrained,” he said. “We need to think about how the Protocol can be embedded more into internal processes within companies.”

The 7 June workshop was attended by 25 participants and held with the support of GiZ, the German government’s international development agency. The programme included a discussion on applying the Protocol for use on small-scale hydropower projects in developing countries.

João Costa, IHA Sustainability Specialist, said: “A lot of the small-scale hydropower developers in attendance were very interested in the Protocol as it provides a clear reference for good practice in sustainability. Training opportunities and building internal staff capacity were discussed as good starting points for incorporating use of the Protocol into small-scale projects.”

The IWaSP conference explored how water stewardship approaches can address current scarcity challenges and add value to existing models of hydropower development and operation. IHA participated in an IWaSP conference workshop on hydropower benefits.

One of the participants of the conference workshop, Anton-Louis Olivier, CEO of Renewable Energy Holdings Group, discussed the role of stakeholder participation in increasing the value of hydropower infrastructure.

“We, as project developers, contribute as good neighbours to the uplifting and maintenance of society, ecology and system infrastructures,” said Mr Olivier, recipient of IHA’s Mosonyi Award at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress.

“Project development requires us to navigate through a highly complex set of interrelated factors – technical, environmental, social, legal and commercial – in order to structure a viable and sustainable project.

“The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol provides a clear set of principles to refer to and check throughout the development process in order to manage risks and improve project sustainability, specifically relating to social and environmental factors,” he added.

“In order to fairly share the benefits of a project with local communities and other stakeholders, it is important to understand its impacts by identifying and quantifying both the power and non-power benefits,” said Cristina Diez, IHA Hydropower Analyst, who also spoke at the conference workshop.

“As many of hydropower’s benefits are often misunderstood or under-reported, part of our work has been to provide a framework for collecting evidence.”

IHA has been building and sharing knowledge on the wide-ranging benefits of hydropower since it was founded in 1995. To find out more about the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol visit the Hydropower Sustainability website. Learn more about IHA’s hydropower benefits work programme.

For the latest information and statistics on hydropower in Africa, download the 2018 Hydropower Status Report

19 June 2018

The International Hydropower Association has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition.

The partnership represents IHA's commitment to promoting the role and contribution of women in the energy sector, particularly in the transition to a low carbon future. It also includes the promotion of mentoring, networking and coaching opportunities to encourage the increased participation of women in decision-making positions.


Photo credit: GWNET

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Richard Taylor, IHA’s Chief Executive, and Christine Lins, founding member of the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) on 6 June.

Mr Taylor said: “Our mission to advance sustainable hydropower includes building a vibrant, inclusive and proactive community. We’re proud to be a strategic partner of GWNET, a network which shares these values, as we look towards decarbonisation and a clean energy future.” 

GWNET was founded in 2017 to address the energy sector’s current gender imbalance and promote gender-sensitive action around the energy transition worldwide.

According to its founders, GWNET empowers women in energy through interdisciplinary networking, advocacy, training, coaching and mentoring, and services related to projects and financing.

“GWNET is thrilled to work with the International Hydropower Association to raise the voice of women in hydro, thereby bringing fresh perspectives to the development of societies, attracting and retaining a richer pool of talent in the sector and advancing the energy transition more quickly,” commented Ms Lins.

The new partnership advances on IHA’s recent support of the Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program, which provides a platform for women to connect, make friendships and share experiences in a supportive environment.

Christine Cantin, IHA Board member and Senior Advisor at Hydro-Québec voiced her support for IHA's new partnership with GWNET. Ms Cantin has been an advocate of the Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program since it started in 2016.

“Inclusion and diversity foster and enrich the work environment. Hydropower and women are key actors in the global energy transition, so it is by being associated with initiatives of this kind that we will promote gender diversity progress and a more sustainable world,” she said.

Find out more about GWNET by visiting its website.

18 June 2018

The International Hydropower Association addressed the challenges of managing freshwater and the opportunities provided by hydropower at an Institute of Mechanical Engineers seminar in London.

Participants at the event heard how worldwide hydropower installed capacity had reached 1,267 GW in 2017 – an increase of over 20 GW from 2016.

“Hydropower plays a role in more than 150 countries; it’s a widely distributed technology and industry,” said IHA’s Chief Executive Richard Taylor during his keynote speech. 

“The management of freshwater is probably the biggest challenge faced by mankind this century," and we will need water infrastructure, especially as the developing world needs increased water services.


“To be able to deliver on the increasing demand, with a finite resource, we will need infrastructure to store water. Hydropower can contribute to that infrastructure by providing services and revenues which can justify the investment.”

Mr Taylor also explained how IHA’s work programmes can help to fill sector knowledge gaps and discussed the reporting benefits of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, an internationally recognised tool used to assess the performance of projects at various stages in their life cycles. 

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) seminar was entitled ‘Hydropower Engineering: Technologies, Projects and Future Developments’.

IHA was a supporting partner at the 14 June event, which featured presentations on key hydropower projects and recent sector developments, as well as a panel discussion on hydropower potential in the UK.

IHA members Andritz Hydro and Voith Hydro were represented among the day’s speakers, where asset management and pumped storage hydropower proved common themes of discussion.

Lars Meier, Head of Proposal Management at Voith Hydro, shared technical details on the upcoming modernisation of the Ffestiniog Power Station in North Wales, which was the UK’s first major pumped storage facility.

Ffestiniog, having been commissioned in 1963, is considered an “ageing plant” and modernisation work is due to start in January 2019.

Sean Kelly, project manager at SSE Generation Development, discussed the importance of pumped storage for a grid which is “changing fundamentally since it was set up in the early twentieth century.”

Mr Kelly said: “Pumped storage is an essential tool for system operators to balance the grid. We need to find a way to ensure that all the benefits pumped storage brings to the grid are recognised.” A decrease in pumped storage investment would mean finding alternative solutions, leading to “higher costs to the consumer, slower decarbonisation and probably less energy security.”

Other topics of discussion included tidal power, hydropower technology and the future of hydropower.

For more information on hydropower’s current challenges and opportunities worldwide, download the 2018 Hydropower Status Report.

To find out more about the IMechE event, visit its webpage.

14 June 2018

Plans for the 2019 World Hydropower Congress have been presented at an intergovernmental meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its headquarters in Paris.

Governments heard that the international gathering of hydropower leaders and decision-makers in May 2019 will focus on international collaboration, capacity building and innovation in the hydropower sector.


Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) in partnership with UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the congress will be attended by representatives from government, finance, investment, research, business and civil society from up to 100 countries.

“The 2019 World Hydropower Congress will mark 25 years of collaboration between IHA and UNESCO on water and energy synergies. More than 50 partner organisations will join forces to steer the future role of hydropower during this strategic event,” said Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA.

Mr Taylor was addressing the International Hydrological Programme’s governing body, the Intergovernmental Council, at its 23rd session, taking place from 13 to 15 June 2018.

With the theme of ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’, the Paris World Hydropower Congress will be by hosted by UNESCO between 14 and 16 May 2019. A particular focus will be given to hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Blanca Jimenez-Cisneros, Director of the Division of Water Sciences and Secretary of the International Hydrological Programme, said: “At UNESCO we recognise that the water world is strongly interconnected with that of energy. We look forward to important outcomes from the World Hydropower Congress in 2019, where we will analyse how the water-energy nexus is a fundamental part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The last Congress was hosted by the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2017.

The 2019 programme will cover hydropower’s role in sustainable, clean energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. The event will be preceded by a series of high-level meetings on the water-energy nexus, as well as specialist workshops.

Further details on the Paris 2019 World Hydropower Congress, including information on participation and partnerships the can be obtained from the IHA website:

31 May 2018

Business and policy leaders exchanged views on how to accelerate the adoption of renewable technologies at the Beijing Forum on Hydropower and Future Energy Systems in China last week.

The forum organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) brought together more than 100 global leaders and experts in planning and developing small and large-scale energy systems.


The delegates discussed national and regional efforts to finance the energy transition, enable storage and scale up interconnections between countries. A consensus view was that investment in hydropower is essential to deliver affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.

“Accelerating the development of hydropower is essential for the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement,” said Mr Zhou Yuanbing, Director-General of the Economic & Technology Research Institute of the Beijing-headquartered Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO).

“Hydropower has several inherent characteristics that can be played to its full advantage - it is mature, flexible and very cost effective,” he noted.

“One of the strengths of hydropower is that it can be developed at a whole range of scales, from kilowatts to gigawatts,” said Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, in his opening address. He pointed to innovation in China, at one end of the spectrum, where turbines are being developed to reach 1 GW in generating capacity.

“That a single turbine can have the same capacity as a major power station is an extraordinary technological achievement. At the other end of the spectrum, hydropower is a technology which can bring electricity to remote communities for the very first time.”

The Beijing Forum on Hydropower and Future Energy Systems was held between 21 and 22 May 2018 at the headquarters of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG). The event was co-sponsored by CTG, the China Society for Hydropower Engineering (CSHE), the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) and GEIDCO.

In addition to IHA members, attendees included government, financial and multilateral institutions such as the China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration, the China Development Bank, the International Renewable Energy Agency, UNESCO, and the World Bank Group.

In his address, Mr Taylor warned of the “tremendous challenge” faced in financing the carbon reduction targets underpinning the Paris Agreement, as well as the SDGs. “Trillions of dollars will be needed to meet the targets – and there are those who say these targets are not sufficient,” he said.

During the forum, delegates heard that the World Bank Group has committed to double investment in renewable electricity to 20 GW over the next five years. “This doubling is not possible without hydropower,” said Pravin Karki, Lead for Hydropower and Dams, who participated in a panel discussion on financing the energy transition.

Mr Karki cited the Hydropower Preparation Facility model which is being promoted by IHA to help governments identify sustainable projects while reducing development risks for developers and investors. “It will promote better planning of sustainable hydropower,” he said.

Mr Chen Sunjiao, Director-General of China Development Bank’s Project Appraisal Department, supported efforts by IHA and other organisations to deliver tools to advance sustainable hydropower. “Hydropower is a green source of power and that’s why we must follow green guidelines,” he said.

Mr Zhang Ye, President of CSHE, congratulated IHA for enabling international cooperation on future energy systems and for its work programmes on hydropower finance and sustainability. “Throughout the years IHA has been making dedicated efforts to promote the sustainable development of hydropower,” he said.

“China’s hydropower industry has benefitted a lot from such efforts through the access to global leading knowledge networks and tools such as the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.”

Presentations from the forum are available to IHA members; please contact to request copies. 

Visit the forum event webpage for more information.