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Three candidates have been selected for the 2017 Young Researcher of the Year award, presented on Tuesday 9 May at the opening of the World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa. 

IHA Young Researcher of the Year 2017Alexandros Korkovelos is a young researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. His research focuses on small-scale (0.01-10 MW) hydropower potential in Sub-Saharan Africa, which he carried out in response to ongoing global dialogue on energy poverty and in view of the region’s plentiful renewable resource potential. Using open-source geospatial datasets, he was able to evaluate 712,615 km of river network over 44 countries, taking into account environmental, topological and social constrains. This resulted in the identification of 15,599 potential sites across the subcontinent, including micro and small-scale potential. 

Read Alexandros' award submission article here.

In Sara Mercier-Blais’s research, she outlines the rationale behind the G-res tool. Sara began work on this globally-important project to model greenhouse gas emissions from hydropower reservoirs after gaining an MSc in biology. The G-res tool has been developed to enable decision-makers and stakeholders to accurately measure greenhouse gas emissions from existing and planned reservoirs, ultimately empowering them to make well-informed societal, economic and environmental decisions. In her award submission, she explains how the tool can be used not only to accurately calculate net emissions from the introduction of a reservoir into the landscape, but also for understanding factors that contribute to emissions levels.

Read Sara's award submission article here.

Rafael Schmitt works at the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley on developing lower-impact dam portfolios and studying the optimal sequencing of dam developments in the transnational Mekong river basin. His research focuses on reducing the conflicts between hydropower and environmental objectives through basin-scale planning of dam portfolios in the world’s large river basins. He presents the CASCADE (CAtchment Sediment Connectivity and Delivery) framework, a computationally effective numerical model for network sediment transport and reservoir sediment trapping. He explains how application of CASCADE in a major tributary of the Mekong river basin, revealed that when 17,000 different dam portfolios were considered, just 60 result in an optimal trade-off between sediment trapping and hydropower production.

Read Rafael's award submission article here.

The IHA Young Researcher Award recognises emerging talent in the hydropower sector. Find out more here.


The 2017 World Hydropower Congress opened at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa on Tuesday 9 May.

Hailemariam DesalegnH.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, prime minister of Ethiopia, officially opened the congress. Addressing delegates, he said: “Development is unthinkable in the absence of adequate and affordable energy”.

Emphasising the need to pull together, he said “I would like to reiterate the need for collective efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change”, and described hydropower as being “crucial to providing reliable and sustainable energy development for African economies”.

H.E. Quartey Thomas Kwesi, deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission, delivered a speech discussing hydropower’s role in addressing Africa’s energy challenges. He said: “Access to modern and sustainable energy services is crucial to achieving sustainable, transformative and inclusive development. 

“The development and expansion of renewable energy provides one of the most effective strategies to simultaneously promote development, sustainable energy access and energy security as well as climate change mitigation at the global, continental and regional levels.” 

Calling for increased collaboration, he said that “for Africa, there is a need to engage with specialised institutions such as the International Hydropower Association in order to benefit from their networks of experts.”

Liu Zhenya, chairman of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), presented the concept of ‘global energy interconnection’ (GEI) as “the inevitable way out for clean and low-carbon energy transition”.

He said: “It is imperative for us to accelerate the green and low-carbon transition. The key to realising that is to bring forward a new energy supply system prioritised by clean energy development and power supply with large-scale optimal allocation of the GEI platform.”

Closing he speech, he said: “Let’s work hand in hand for African energy interconnections with more communication and common consent, and make our due contribution to sustainable development.”

Ken Adams, president of the International Hydropower Association welcomed delegates to the congress. He said: “Hydropower cannot be done in isolation.

“My message today is that achieving Sustainable Development Goals will not be possible without breaking barriers and widening the scope of collaboration between all of our institutions. We must embrace the fact that one single technology will not resolve the challenges of our generation. 

“We need more hydropower on the grid, as it plays a role as a flexible, sustainable generation source. We also need it to play the often unrecognised role of energy storage.”

Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) and special representative of the UN secretary general for Sustainable Energy for all, spoke of the urgency of the current energy challenge. She said: "Better Hydro  is an important way to meet the goal of sustainable energy agreed by all countries and the ambition of the Paris climate agreement. It offers affordable, cleaner, reliable energy as well as storage which can crowd in more solar and wind development.

"The challenge of securing sustainable energy for all by 2030 means we have to move forward with speed and scale. We hope that the World Hydropower Congress will spur rapid progress."

Abdalla Hamdok, acting executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, said that "hydropower is well known to be one of the most important power sources in the world, producing more than three quarters of the world's renewable energy output each year. A number of countries are almost exclusively using hydro as their baseload electricity. At the same time, hydropower has become the renewable energy of choice."

Reflecting on global concerns around hydropower's sustainability, he said: "I am glad to note that the agenda of this congress includes items of environmental and social impact in the context of hydropower development."

Noting the potential of Africa's vast natural resources, and the commitment of many African governments, partners and institutions to address the continent's energy infrastructure gap, he concluded by stating that Africa's "true value lies with the millions of Africans across the continent determined to drive change", and that "coupled with strong and coherence policy action", the continent has the power to deliver on a more sustainable energy future.

You can find out more about the congress at



The 2017 Hydropower Status Report was launched at the opening of the World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa on Tuesday 9 May. It offers the latest insights into global developments in the sector, as well as in-depth regional analysis and key trends. 

2017 Hydropower Status ReportThe report is available for download here.

The report introduces new features, including a map of major transmission development worldwide and 17 new country profiles, as well as a broader range of key topic analysis. It looks in depth at key trends, including new initiatives to manage the risk profile of hydropower, reporting tools for the greenhouse gas footprint of reservoirs, the growing focus on climate resilience among financing institutions, and more. 

The report presents the latest global development statistics by country and by region. In the past year, a total of 31.5 GW of new installed capacity has been added worldwide. This figure includes 6.4 GW of new pumped storage, nearly double the amount of the previous year, while a further 20 GW is currently under construction around the world. This development can largely be put down to the role hydropower plays in balancing other renewable sources, such as solar and wind. 

“The 2017 Hydropower Status Report reveals steady growth in hydropower development over the past year. This is indicative of the increasingly important role it plays in providing flexible support to other renewable energy systems, as countries around the world take steps to meet the carbon reduction goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Richard Taylor, chief executive of IHA. 

The report is compiled using data from IHA’s global hydropower database, which has been developed in close collaboration with regulators, ministries and electricity associations, as well as station owners and operators. 

Download the report here

Nominations have opened for the forthcoming IHA Board elections, which will take place between June and August 2017.

2017 IHA Board elections call for candidatesThe elections will determine the IHA Board members that will lead the association’s work in the 2017–19 period.

Election candidates must be either be an individual member of IHA, or employed by a corporate member.

If elected, candidates must also be willing to contribute in meeting the shared responsibilities of the Board, and commit to attend the majority of its meetings. The Board meets three times every year.

How to stand as a candidate

To stand as a candidate in the IHA Board elections, you need to fill in a nomination form, which you can download here, to confirm your interest.

The schedule for the 2017 elections is as follows:

  • 7 June: Closing date for candidate nominations
  • 21 June: Voting opens (ballot forms are distributed to members) 
  • 2 August: Deadline for voting closes 
  • 7 August: Election results are announced 
  • 20–21 September: First meeting of the new Board, London, UK

You can read our five-step guide to standing in the board elections here.

If you wish to stand for election, please send your completed nomination form to, fax it to +44 208 643 5600, or post it to IHA Central Office, International Hydropower Association, Chancery House, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, London, SM1 1JB, UK.

On Thursday 29 November 2016, IHA CEO Richard Taylor met with a high-level delegation from the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) to discuss collaboration opportunities.

IHA GEIDCO meetingGEIDCO is a non-governmental and non-profit international organisation initiated by State Grid Corporation of China, joint related enterprises, organisations, institutions and others. 

GEIDCO’s delegation was led by its chairman Liu Zhenya, who is the former CEO of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the world’s largest utility with almost 2 million employees.) Mr Liu started his career as an engineer and spent four decades progressing within the sector, before stepping down as CEO at SGCC in May 2016 to take the position of chairman at GEIDCO. 

The seven-person delegation led by Mr Liu consisted of prominent figures at the forefront of China’s efforts to advance grid interconnections, including Ms Zhang Liying, vice president, SGCC and Dr Lei Xianzhang, director general, European Office, GEIDCO. 

During the meeting, Mr Liu and Mr Taylor discussed the key benefits of interconnections, the importance of developing them, and the significant role hydropower can play in the process.

Mr Taylor highlighted that further deployment of renewable energy sources can only be further realised through better interconnections. 

This is a particularly prominent topic in China, which has roughly 330 GW of hydropower installed, with the potential to develop an additional 200 GW. However, this potential can only be realised with the support of interconnections and ultra-high-voltage (UHV) electricity lines in operation.    

Mr Liu discussed his vision for GEIDCO, referring to “smart power grid+UHV grid+clean energy, which is an open and shared energy system with sustainable supply, green low-carbon and cost-effective economy”. GEIDCO further outlined its intention to focus on West Sichuan, West Hunan and West Tibet. 

Both parties agreed to strength relations through regular exchanges and joint research projects, as China plans to develop significant pumped storage hydropower capacity in the future.

You can find out more about GEIDCO at