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The Nature Conservancy, a non-governmental organisation that works to conserve ecologically important lands and waters and all that they provide for people and nature, will be a main sponsor of the 2015 World Hydropower Congress.

The Nature Conservancy

The congress, hosted by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), takes place at the Yanqi Lake complex in Beijing’s Huairou District on 19–21 May 2015.

While the Conservancy has participated in previous years as a partner, as a main sponsor, it will have a much more prominent role in planning and shaping the congress’ content. 

This is the first time an environmental NGO has sponsored the biennial event, signifying the wide-ranging interest in finding  new solutions and partnerships to improve the environmental and social sustainability of hydropower. 

In an article explaining why the Conservancy is stepping up its collaboration with IHA, which you can read in full here, its Director of Sustainable Hydropower Dr. Jeff Opperman said, “We want to do our part to help create a future world, one where people can live, learn and thrive supported by a sustainable energy system and one that harbours beautiful and productive rivers, including wild ones.

"The strongest contribution we can make as an organisation to achieve that vision is to build on our history of partnerships and find science-based, common-ground solutions for sustainable hydropower.”

Commenting on the Conservancy’s decision to sponsor the World Hydropower Congress, Richard Taylor, IHA’s CEO, remarked that “this is a new step in the partnership between IHA and the Conservancy, building on the positive results of our growing collaboration over the recent years”.

You can learn more about The Nature Conservancy here.

 

The iconic Yanqi Lake complex in Beijing’s Huairou District has been confirmed as the venue for the 2015 World Hydropower Congress, which takes place on 19–21 May. 

Located close to the Mutianyu Great Wall in north-eastern Beijing, the Yanqi Lake complex was recently constructed for the 2014 APEC Summit. The district is regarded as one of the most environmentally friendly areas of Beijing, with exceptional natural scenery and ambitious policies to support sustainable development.

Yanqi LakeThe World Hydropower Congress will bring together 1,000 leading representatives of a range of stakeholders in hydropower, including industry, governments, civil society, academia and the financial sector.

The diversity of involvement can be seen in the spectrum of sponsors and partners of the Congress, which include UN bodies, government agencies, universities, owners, manufacturers, conservation organisations, investors, and banks.

Richard Taylor, chief executive of the International Hydropower Association, said: "We are delighted that the World Hydropower Congress will be staged at such a forward-thinking venue. With its mixture of world-class conference facilities and majestic landscape, Yanqi Lake will provide the perfect environment in which to chart the future of hydropower."

You can find out more about the event and the programme at www.hydropower.org/congress, or read more about the Yanqi Lake complex here. Registration will open on 15 December 2014.

 

The International Hydropower Association’s ongoing work with its partners to improve knowledge and inform decision makers on the greenhouse gas (GHG) status of freshwater reservoirs is moving into a new phase. 

GHG call for proposals

A revised screening tool is being developed to estimate the impact of a reservoir on the GHG exchanges that occur in a river basin. The GHG Reservoir Screening Tool will allocate any GHG impact to the services provided by the reservoir. We expect that a prototype of the revised tool will be launched at the World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, 19–21 May 2015.

The development of the tool has been divided into four modules – pre-impoundment, post-impoundment, unrelated anthropogenic sources, and allocation to reservoir services. We have issued a request for proposals, which invites research teams to assist in the development of the first three of these modules.

The tool is intended to inform decision makers if there is likely to be any significant GHG footprint associated with the purposes for which the reservoir is being developed. The tool will be applicable for both existing and planned reservoirs. If the tool identifies a reservoir that is likely to cause a significant impact, the recommended action will include the possibility of detailed modelling.

Our work is aligned with that of the International Energy Agency’s Hydropower Agreement (IEA-Hydro), which is currently working on the development of modelling guidelines. These guidelines will relate to the detailed study of the GHG status of reservoirs shown to be vulnerable by the GHG Reservoir Screening Tool.

Back-to-back expert workshops to address both the development of the GHG Reservoir Screening Tool (convened by IHA) and modelling guidelines (convened by IEA-Hydro), will take place in London, 1–5 December 2014.

Please note that the deadline for proposals has now closed. For more details about the ongoing project, please contact the IHA Central Office.

Hydropower developer NuPlanet has begun construction of the 4.5 MW Stortemelk station near Clarence in the Free State Province, South Africa, after agreeing financing on the project.

Construction of the project is expected to take around two years, with commissioning schedule for mid-2016. It was awarded preferred bidder status under the South African Government’s Independent Power Producer (REIPP) programme.

Stortemelk project siteNuPlanet has implemented a number of innovative measures in designing the project to address environmental considerations, ensure maximum availability and optimise maintenance.  This includes a vertical CAT turbine directly coupled to an air/water-cooled generator, eliminating the forced ventilation and reducing the number of failure mechanisms.

Anton-Louis Olivier, managing director of NuPlanet, said: “We’re building the power plant in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa. The brief to the architects was to design a powerhouse top-structure that minimise visual impact and blended the power station to the surrounding environment.”

Mr Olivier explained how the project’s unique ownership structure will ensure that project benefits reach the people most in need. “Not only is Stortemelk is one of the few REIPP projects that is wholly South African owned, but our partners, the Mertech Group, is one of the largest philanthropic investors in South Africa. 

“Combining that with broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) ownership and an additional shareholding by a local Clarens-based charity results in a business which is ploughing back the majority of its returns to poor communities across South Africa.”

The project, situated on the Ash River, will be constructed using a ‘split contract’ structure with an engineering, procurement  and construction management (EPCM) arrangement rather than the EPC structure that is more commonly used in the REIPP programme.

Mr Olivier said: “Based on our past experience, we realised that small hydro does not lend itself as easily to the EPC contract structure as do solar PV or wind projects. Fortunately our partners and lender agreed with this approach.”

You can find out more about NuPlanet here: www.nuplanet.co.za

The World Bank has published a review of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol providing recommendations on its usage.

The review, entitled The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol for use by World Bank clients: lessons learned and recommendations, which you can read in full here, describes the protocol as “a useful tool for guiding the development of sustainable hydropower in developing countries”.

The protocol is a tool for measuring the environmental, social, technical, financial, and economic aspects of a hydropower project’s performance. It was developed by a multi-stakeholder forum featuring representatives from industry, civil society, donors, developing country governments and the finance sector over a three-year period.

Among its findings, the review concludes that:

  • Developers that have applied the protocol have experienced that protocol assessments deliver value for money
  • The protocol complements the World Bank’s policies and procedures for social and environmental performance, but does not replace them
  • The protocol has a range of other potential uses, including a transparent framework for stakeholder dialogue and conflict resolution

The review also features a set of recommendations for World Bank clients, including that:

  • A full commitment from the developer is crucial to the success of assessments, given the reliance on evidence provided
  • Basic good practice defined by the protocol may not reflect standard practice in a client’s country, so managing expectations is key to successful implementation
  • Achieving basic good practice across all topics is difficult in the short term, and so the focus should be on the process of continuous improvement and not a measure for comparison between countries and projects

You can read the full report here, and you can find out more about the protocol at www.hydrosustainability.org.

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