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Hydropower is the world's largest source of renewable energy and plays a vital role in reducing the world's dependence on carbon. As a renewable energy, it is important that hydropower is also developed sustainably.

We work in a number of ways to promote the sustainable use of hydropower. Some of our projects are listed below.

Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol

We have played a leading role in the development and implementation of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol – a framework for assessing projects against a comprehensive range of social, environmental, technical and economic considerations.

The protocol was shaped by representatives from governments, commercial and development banks, social and environmental NGOs, and the hydropower sector.

To support its implementation, we are building partnerships with leading hydro companies to guide improvement across different project stages and contexts.

You can get involved or find out more about the protocol at


Hydro4LIFE is an European Commission-funded project which has delivered training workshops on the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, as well as assessments to hydropower companies and other stakeholders within the EU, including E.ON Energie, EDF, Scottish and Southern Energy, Andritz, Alstom and Voith.

The workshops have also been attended by representatives from export credit agencies (for example, OeKB, Coface and Euler Hermes), investment banks (such as Société Générale and Credit Agricole), consultants and regulators.

In 2012, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) affirmed the protocol in its common approaches – one of many effective outcomes of this work.

The project has also allowed us to present the protocol at a number of key international events, such as the 17th International Seminar on Hydropower in Vienna in November 2012.

Find out more about Hydro4LIFE.

Norad project

In December 2012, we received funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) under a project to promote and use the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol in developing countries.

This project runs from December 2012 until December 2016, and will demonstrate the value of including sustainability criteria into project decision-making at an early stage. It will also build capacity among developing country regulators, regional bodies and civil society.

Find out more about this project.