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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.

Beijing, China, 24 May 2018

A record 4,185 terawatt hours (TWh) in electricity was generated from hydropower last year, according to the 2018 Hydropower Status Report, published today.

The worldwide installed capacity of commissioned hydropower plants rose to 1,267 gigawatts (GW) in 2017, according to the flagship report of the International Hydropower Association (IHA). Some 21.9 GW of capacity was added including 3.2 GW of pumped storage, bringing global pumped storage capacity to 153 GW.

By generating electricity from hydropower instead of coal, in 2017 the world prevented up to 4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases – and avoided a 10 per cent rise in global emissions from fossil fuels and industry – according to analysis by IHA. It also avoided 148 million tonnes of air polluting particulates, 62 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide, and 8 million tonnes of nitrogen oxide from being emitted.

The 2018 Hydropower Status Report, now in its fifth edition, provides statistics for installed capacity and estimated generation by country and by region.

It offers insights and key trends on the sector, and features highlight results of a sector-wide survey of leading decision-makers on the future of hydropower.

Leading energy and environment ministers from Australia; Ethiopia; Sarawak, Malaysia; and Scotland, UK; have contributed to the 2018 edition, explaining how investment in hydropower is supporting national development priorities and the clean energy transition.

The report shows that growth in hydropower in 2017 was fastest in East Asia and the Pacific, with 9.8 GW of capacity added, followed by South America (4.1 GW), South and Central Asia (3.3 GW), Europe (2.3 GW), Africa (1.9 GW) and North and Central America (0.5 GW).

China consolidated its status as the world’s largest producer of hydroelectric power, accounting for nearly half of global added installed capacity at 9.1 GW. It was followed by Brazil (3.4 GW), India (1.9 GW), Portugal (1.1 GW) and Angola (1.0 GW).

In addition, the report publishes findings from a study of the greenhouse gas footprint of 500 large hydropower reservoirs. The research used a new tool to assess net emissions and found hydropower’s median emissions intensity to be just 18.5 gCO2-eq/kWh.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, announced the 2018 Hydropower Status Report at the Beijing Forum on Hydropower and Future Energy Systems – one of a series of events organised by IHA in the lead-up to the World Hydropower Congress in Paris in May 2019.

Mr Taylor said: “This report serves to highlight the vital contribution of hydropower to meeting the world’s energy needs, without which we could not hope to achieve the ambitious carbon reduction targets that underpin the Paris Climate Agreement.


IHA Board members present the 2018 Hydropower Status Report ahead of its launch in Beijing, China, on 24 May 2018.

“Hydropower offers storage services which support growth in other renewables such as wind and solar, as well as water management and protection from floods and drought. In many countries around the world, however, the alternative to hydropower for electricity generation is coal, which means higher emissions and dangerous levels of pollution.”

In his article, the Chief Minister of Sarawak writes that development of hydropower – including the Murum project featured on the front cover of the 2018 Hydropower Status Report – has given Sarawak the lowest tariffs in Malaysia, and reduced carbon emissions by over 70 per cent.

Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Energy writes about Australia’s commitment to new pumped hydropower projects, including the 2,000 MW Snowy 2.0 Scheme, “the largest energy storage project in the southern hemisphere”.

Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, in his article, cites the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be the largest hydropower project in Africa when built, with an expected installed capacity of 6,450 MW.

Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy states that his government hopes to “reduce risks and remove barriers to investment” for new pumped hydropower projects, in order to enhance the flexibility and resilience of Scotland’s electricity network.

Download the 2018 report here:

Download infographics from the 2018 report here:

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.