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Hydropower operators, financial institutions, academics and humanitarian organisations gathered to share best practices in climate resilience and risk management in the hydropower sector at a workshop in Mexico City.

Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the workshop addressed technical, financial and humanitarian aspects of decision-making of risk management in development and operations.

The workshop, entitled ‘Climate Resilience and the Effective Management of Risk in the Hydropower Sector’, between 14 and 15 May 2018 was a side event at the Understanding Risk Forum organised by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).

It provided a platform to present outcomes of previous IHA workshops on hydrological and financial risks, as well as for IHA to present draft guidelines on hydropower sector climate resilience.  

María Ubierna, senior analyst at IHA, said: “The guidelines will incorporate climate change resilience and hydrological risk management into hydropower project appraisal, design, construction and operation, resulting in more robust and resilient projects. They will address the needs of the wider financial community, policy makers and local communities.”

Supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank Group, IHA is hosting the secretariat for the coordination of the testing and revision of the guidelines, which aim to provide practical and workable international good practice guidance for project owners, governments, financial institutions and private developers.

During a discussion on factors in advancing climate resilience, Dr Emily Wilkinson, Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute’s Risk and Resilience Programme, spoke about the need to build climate resilience into public policy.

“We need to be demonstrating the full benefits of multi-purpose dams and promoting more of a national strategy around investing in hydropower: the full benefits and the co-benefits, thinking about flood risk management and opportunities,” Dr Wilkinson said.  

Another common theme of discussion concerned the importance of involving local communities in decision-making about hydropower project risk management.

Kara Siahaan, Senior Officer at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies shared how National Societies build resilience within their communities through the early action Forecast-based Financing (FbF) model that was developed by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre.

“Transforming early warning into early action is about assisting communities to have risk-informed approaches to address vulnerabilities, connecting communities with governments and partners and engaging them in the decision-making process,” said Ms Siahaan.

Iván Rodríguez, Manager of Hydropower Developments at the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), suggested that managing social aspects is “the key to unblock” the development of new projects in Mexico, where the last project was built in 2012.

Mr Rodríguez noted CFE’s project planning and monitoring of reservoir levels as particularly important in protecting surrounding areas and downstream communities.

The Mexico workshop was attended by more than 60 participants, who heard from representatives of more than 15 organisations during panel discussions, presentations and working groups. Participants included hydropower companies from France, Haiti, Malaysia and Mexico, including IHA members CFE and Sarawak Energy.

The Understanding Risk Forum, from 14 to 18 May 2018, is organised every two years by GFDRR. It brought together experts for collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation in identifying and assessing disaster risk.

To see the full list of speakers and workshop programme, please visit the event webpage. To get access to the presentations and the briefing from the workshop please join the Climate Resilience and River Basin Development knowledge networks.

The International Hydropower Association helped share knowledge on innovations and disruptive technologies in the hydropower sector at a recent World Bank workshop in Washington D.C.

The workshop, convened in April 2018 and co-organised with IHA, brought together hydropower developers, owners, service providers, equipment manufacturers, technical experts and consultants to investigate the benefits and risks of new technological trends.

Themes under discussion included how innovations can support future energy systems, how digital solutions such as artificial intelligence and blockchain may be relevant to hydropower operations, and the potential impact of technological disruptions on the sector.

“Hydropower, the largest source of renewable energy worldwide, is an integral component of the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy systems,” said Mathis Rogner, senior analyst at IHA. “However, a disruption in the energy sector translates to a fundamental transformation in how energy is supplied, distributed and used.

“This workshop provided an opportunity to explore the extent of the potential impact of innovative technologies on our current systems with the aim of establishing a better understaning in the context of hydropower.”

The workshop was opened by the World Bank's Senior Director and Head of the Energy and Extractive Industries Global Practice Riccardo Puliti, and its Global Lead for Hydropower and Dams Pravin Karki. IHA was represented by Chief Executive Richard Taylor and Mr Rogner.

A summary report of the workshop, produced by IHA, is available to members only. If you are an IHA member, contact Mathis Rogner at mathis.rogner@hydropower.org to request a copy. If you are not an IHA member and would like to access this exclusive report, please contact external-relations@hydropower.org about membership opportunities. 

21 May 2018

With exactly a year to go to the 2019 World Hydropower Congress, co-organisers the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme welcomed Ambassadors and delegations to a special briefing in Paris.

The briefing, which was attended by more than 60 representatives of governments and the hydropower sector, took place at the UNESCO headquarters on 14 May 2018. This venue will host the Congress next year between 14 and 16 May 2019.

IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor said: “Today hydropower delivers around 1,260 GW of renewable electricity, which is enough for more than a billion people, and most of that is being delivered in developing countries.

“The World Hydropower Congress brings together industry, government, finance, academia and civil society to set priorities for the future direction of the hydropower sector,” he added.

Mr Taylor was joined by speakers from Congress partner organisations EDF and GE Renewable Energy, as well as UNESCO, who provided insights on the role of hydropower in delivering on climate and development targets.

With the theme of ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’, the seventh World Hydropower Congress will focus on hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Up to 100 countries are expected to be represented at the Congress. Details on registration, the agenda and speakers will be announced in the coming months. To express your interest in participating or sponsoring the Congress, please contact gt@hydropower.org

27 April 2018

The Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program has announced that it will be accepting applications from May 2018. 

The initiative is supported by the National Hydropower Association (NHA), Northwest Hydroelectric Association (NWHA), Midwest Hydro Users Group (MHUG) and PennWell’s HydroVision.

It aims to provide an opportunity for women to “connect, generate new friendships, and share experiences in a supportive environment that highlights the powerful contributions women make in the hydropower industry,” according to the organisers.

Nora Rosemore, Hydro Operations Superintendent at Minnesota Power and Chair of the Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program Steering Committee, said: “We knew there was interest within the industry, but we were so excited to receive over 80 applications in 2017.

“The participants are from all levels and from all types of organisations, including utilities, consulting firms, resource and regulatory agencies, contractors and suppliers.”

Following its launch in 2017, the initiative has successfully matched mentors and protégés from across the hydropower sector into 48 pairs. 

Under the scheme, a mentor brings her life experience, a willingness to listen and give counsel, and provides network connections that support the protégé. The protégé brings her growth and development goals, opportunities, and challenges with a willingness to openly discuss them. 

Applications for this year’s program are open from 1 May to 1 August and pairings will be announced in early September.

If you would like to apply to join the program, please visit HydroWorld.com or contact the organisers at womeninhydropower@gmail.com.

Steering Committee Members:
Nora Rosemore – Minnesota Power
Dawn Presler – Snohomish PUD
Amanda Blank – Alliant Energy
Kelly Schaeffer – Kleinschmidt
Kelly Maloney – Brookfield Renewable
Kristina Newhouse – Avista Utilities
Rita Hayen – TRC
Jacqueline Mongrut – Hydro-Quebec

22 March 2018 

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is now accepting entries for the IHA Blue Planet Prize.

The prestigious award, which recognises hydropower projects for their achievements in sustainability, will be awarded at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris, France, 14-16 May 2019. 

The IHA Blue Planet Prize is awarded to projects which clearly demonstrate excellence according to a range of social, environmental, technical and economic criteria. Up to three projects can be awarded the accolade in each prize year.

For a project to be considered, it must have undergone an official assessment under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, an internationally recognised tool used to assess the performance of a hydropower project across more than 20 topics.

Frank Faraday, Sustainability Programme Manager at IHA, said: “The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol promotes and guides more sustainable hydropower projects by providing a common language and objective framework for understanding, communicating and improving performance.

“The IHA Blue Planet Prize recognises excellence in the overall sustainability performance of hydropower projects. We encourage all developers and operators who have undertaken or are considering a Protocol assessment to get in touch today to find out how to apply.”

The IHA Blue Planet Prize was last awarded at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress. It was won by the Blanda project in Iceland, owned and operated by Landsvirkjun. The prize has previously been awarded to six other projects since 2001.

Eligible projects will have undergone an official Protocol assessment with the results of that assessment published before 31 December 2018. A project must have achieved or exceeded good practice scores across all Protocol topics and the plant must have been commissioned prior to entry.

The winner will be chosen by a panel of experts from the hydropower and sustainability sectors. For more information on the prize and to register your interest, visit IHA’s website: hydropower.org/iha-blue-planet-prize

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