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27 March 2020

Exploring the theme of ‘Water and Climate Change’, UN Water’s annual report on World Water Day on 22 March 2020 highlighted that hydropower forms an essential part of the solution to climate change.

“Hydropower will continue playing a role in climate change mitigation and adaptation of the energy sector,” the World Water Development Report stated, acknowledging the need for low-carbon renewable energy.

The paper recognised the flexibility offered by hydropower projects in power generation, allowing for better integration of variable electricity delivered by wind and solar power into the grid.

Moreover, multipurpose hydropower reservoirs “contribute to flow regulation, flood control and availability of water for irrigation,” the report said.

To maximise their role in mitigating climate change, hydropower projects need to be developed and operated sustainably, taking into account biodiversity, river ecology and hydrology, sediment transport, and local livelihoods, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, the paper noted.

This is where the internationally recognised Hydropower Sustainability Tools and associated IHA tools and guidelines have a role to play in strengthening hydropower’s economic, social and governance performance.

The Hydropower Sustainability Tools exist to ensure that hydropower projects can be built in accordance with good and best practice. These tools comprise Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice (HGIIP), an Assessment Protocol (HSAP) and ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG).

Welcoming the report, Eddie Rich, CEO of IHA said, “To address climate change, electricity needs to be significantly decarbonised.  This has only been achieved where there has been a significant contribution from hydropower.  As the World Water Development Report highlights, we don’t just need more hydropower development – it has to be environmentally and socially sustainable.”

UN Water also released a Climate Change and Water Policy Brief for World Water Day which recognised that IHA’s Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide published in 2019, “offers a methodology for identifying, assessing and managing climate risks to enhance the resilience of hydropower projects."

The GHG Reservoir (G-res) Tool, launched by IHA in 2017, allows companies, investors and consultants to report on the carbon footprint of a reservoir. Using readily available input data, the tool provides a cost-effective way to more accurately assess net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Maria Ubierna, Research & Policy Focal Point at IHA said, "We will continue to provide the necessary tools to the renewable energy sector to become ready for the challenges that climate change poses. Hydropower projects of all types and sizes can deliver services and benefit society in a climate-resilient and low-carbon way."

Read UN World Water Development Report 2020

World Water Day


Message from President Roger Gill

Covid-19 will significantly impact our industry. It will hamper global supply chains, delay construction and temporarily reduce demand. Furthermore, low oil prices are back on the agenda.

We are yet to see or understand the depth or length of the crisis on hydropower. However, we must continue to focus on long-term planning and make effective use of our time during the crisis. 

Covid-19 will reset our society and economy. There will be a rethink about energy systems and the pathways towards decarbonisation. There will be a rethink about our global interconnectivity and how we meet the sustainable development goals. 

IHA will be ready to voice the role of sustainable hydropower in delivering a better post-Covid society.

Roger Gill, President of IHA

Message from CEO Eddie Rich

This is a challenging time for everyone – for individuals affected by the virus, for the global economy, for businesses and for the hydropower sector more generally.
Our thoughts are with those facing personal and business challenges. The world is learning a lot about itself from this pandemic, and there is clearly going to be a lot of pain over the next few months or even longer.  
Throughout this crisis, IHA will continue to support our members and partners and work to advance sustainable hydropower. 
All our staff are now working from home until future notice. Travel has been cancelled for the next 30 days and the next IHA Board meeting on 13 May will be held virtually. But while our ability to organise or attend physical events is curtailed, we will remain the voice of the sustainable hydropower sector, building and sharing knowledge and delivering services digitally.
You can connect with our team as normal via email, through our website, through our online community Hydropower Pro, and through our Knowledge Networks. In the coming weeks we will be launching new publications and developing and delivering new online events and training courses.
As the hydropower sector, like the rest of the energy sector, grapples with the new global reality, we want to hear from our members and partners. How have you been impacted, and what actions are you taking or do you expect to take to mitigate these impacts? 
Talk to IHA and we will be your voice on the international stage. 
Eddie Rich, CEO of IHA 

19 March 2020



10 March 2020

The World Bank has published a handbook and series of case studies on hydropower operations and maintenance (O&M) to help enhance the efficiency and reliability of the worldwide hydropower fleet.

The development of the handbook and case studies was supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and its member organisations, providing real-life examples of O&M strategies in practice.

María Ubierna, IHA’s Hydropower Specialist and Research and Policy Team Focal Point, welcomed the World Bank publication and said the association was delighted to contribute. “Global decarbonisation efforts rely on the hydropower fleet continuing to provide vital generation, flexibility and storage services to electricity systems,” she said.

“Access to this essential handbook and case studies will help owners and operators to optimise and maintain their facilities to fully realise the benefits of hydropower to the grid.”


The publication is intended to be used by asset owners, facility and utility managers, decision-makers in government, utility operators, private developers, independent power producers and financial institutions, including development banks.

Its recommendations aim to help optimise hydropower station performance while also safeguarding the natural environment and local communities. It defines basic principles and provides examples of the consequences of inadequate O&M policies, programmes and procedures.

The case studies from public utilities and private companies in Brazil, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Uruguay are structured around the strategies described in the handbook.

Pierre Lorillou, Senior Hydropower Specialist at the World Bank, said: “A lack of O&M strategies and resources often results in frequent and severe outages, which can result in high costs, losses of valuable electricity, and sometimes a threat to the sustainability of hydropower facilities. We hope that this handbook will support preparing such strategies and mobilise resources where deemed necessary.”

The handbook was developed following the World Hydropower Congress in Ethiopia in May 2017, when delegates agreed on the need for a tool to support the preparation of O&M strategies for countries with limited capacity and a challenging business environment.

The six case studies are:

  • Statkraft Energias Renovaveis, Brazil
  • Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant, Liberia
  • Kainji-Jebba Hydropower Complex, Nigeria
  • New Bong Escape Hydropower Project, Pakistan
  • Nalubaale-Kiira Hydropower Complex, Uganda
  • Salto Grande Hydropower Complex, Uruguay/Argentina

Download the Operation and Maintenance Strategies for Hydropower: Handbook for Practitioners and Decision Makers 

Download the Case Studies


The International Hydropower Association is pleased to announce that the Small Hydropower Plants Association of Kyrgyzstan has joined as an affiliate member.


Pictured: Elvira Borombaeva 

The Kyrgyz association is a non-profit organisation established in 2015 to support the development of hydropower in the Central Asian country.

Elvira Borombaeva, President of the Small Hydropower Plants Association, said: “Kyrgyzstan is the clean energy hub of Central Asia, and hydroelectric plants occupy a central place in our national energy system, generating more than 90 per cent of the country’s electricity. I am sure our IHA membership will support the development of the country’s hydropower potential, of which only 10 per cent has been developed to-date.”

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA, said he was delighted to welcome the association as an affiliate member. “By joining IHA, the Small Hydropower Plants Association of Kyrgyzstan will expand opportunities for its members and stakeholders to exchange knowledge and adopt international good practices.”

Hydropower is seen as playing a major role in Central Asia’s growth strategy between 2020 to 2030. In Kyrgyzstan, the sector is expected to benefit from the CASA-1000 regional interconnection project which, once complete, will help to alleviate electricity shortages and export surplus electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Recent IHA engagement in Central Asia has included an in-depth study of the region’s modernisation needs in partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). IHA has also represented the hydropower sector at events such as Energy Week Uzbekistan 2019.

In February this year, IHA launched a USD 1 million Hydropower Sustainability ESG Assessment Fund with support from the government of Switzerland. The first tranche of funding is available for projects in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan among other countries.

IHA membership is open to organisations and professionals with an interest in sustainable hydropower. Members gain access to an extensive network of the world’s most reputable hydropower sector organisations, active in more than 100 countries.

Through IHA’s online community and mobile app Hydropower Pro, members can connect, access specialist resources and join networks such its South and Central Asia region group.

Learn more about IHA membership:

About IHA

With members and partners active in more than 100 countries, the International Hydropower Association (IHA) is the voice of sustainable hydropower internationally.  IHA provides an open and innovative platform to share knowledge on hydropower’s role relating to energy, water and climate. By working with stakeholders around the world, IHA advances strategies to strengthen the sector’s performance.

First call for proposals announced with April 2020 application deadline

19 February 2020 – A new sustainability fund launched today will aid hydropower project developers and operators in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas to benchmark and raise their social and environmental performance.

The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Assessment Fund will award a total of 1 million Swiss Francs (USD 1.02m) to 40 or more hydropower projects between 2020 and 2024. The initiative is managed by the International Hydropower Association’s sustainability division and funded by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Successful recipients will receive a grant to part-finance the cost of commissioning an independent project assessment using the Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG), a tool based on the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol and governed by a multi-stakeholder coalition of NGOs, governments, banks and multilateral institutions.



The tool enables project proponents and operators to demonstrate that they are meeting international good practice standards across 12 assessment areas including biodiversity, water quality, climate mitigation and resilience, infrastructure safety, labour conditions, indigenous peoples, resettlement, communications and consultation.

The grant will co-finance independent assessors, who are accredited by IHA and a governance council, to carry out an assessment using the HESG gap analysis tool. This involves a site visit and interviews with stakeholders, and produces a concluding report and gap management plan.

Projects under preparation and development, as well as those already in operation, are all eligible for the grant. Applicants will need to demonstrate a strong track record or commitment to sustainability and show that their project aligns with national or regional development policies.

Joao Costa, Senior Sustainability Specialist at IHA, said: “This initiative will encourage renewable energy proponents to draw upon international good practice when planning and implementing hydropower projects. Commissioning a HESG assessment helps to guide developers and operators to address any gaps in environmental and social performance. Going through this process will ultimately demonstrate a project’s sustainability and help unlock green finance.”

Daniel Menebhi, SECO Program Manager, said: “Recognising the important role sustainable hydropower has to play in addressing climate change and enabling economic development, Switzerland supports the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol and its derivatives, including the HESG gap analysis tool which is the subject of this call.

“Switzerland now funds an extensive capacity development programme in selected countries for Swiss economic development cooperation and we are pleased to co-finance HESG assessments for at least 40 promising hydropower projects over the next four years.”

The first tranche of funding of CHF 250,000 in 2020 will be made available for eligible projects in the following countries: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, North Macedonia, Peru, Serbia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Project proposals will be accepted up until 19 April 2020.

IHA is the management body for the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, which develops and governs the Hydropower Sustainability Tools, including a set of good practice guidelines, an assessment protocol and a gap analysis tool. The council includes representatives of social, community and environmental organisations, governments, commercial and development banks and the hydropower sector. IHA is responsible for overseeing tools training and accreditation.

Learn about the Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool and how to apply to the fund:

Find out more: