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As the hydropower sector prepares for its new role supporting a mix of renewables in energy systems, many existing hydropower facilities will require modernisation.

By 2030, over half the world’s existing hydropower capacity is expected to have undergone, or be due for, modernisation.

To realise hydropower’s full potential in modern energy systems, traditional upgrade practices will need to go beyond ‘business as usual’ refurbishments.

The digital revolution will lead to new technologies and innovative approaches to operation and maintenance (O&M). This will ensure hydropower facilities can make an even greater contribution to economic performance, energy and water supply, and climate mitigation.

Our action

IHA is supporting the exchange of innovation and industry experiences, including through our partnerships with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to study the modernisation needs for hydropower stations in these regions.

These studies for instance build on IHA’s global hydropower network and look at the potential for investing in existing capacity in Asia and Latin America. Another collaboration includes working with the World Bank and IHA members to develop case studies in hydropower operations and maintenance.

By publishing research briefings and hosting webinars, we are helping the hydropower sector to understand and adapt to the need for modernisation and the digitalisation revolution in operations and maintenance.

In 2019, together with 18 other partners we launched the Hydropower Extending Power System Flexibility (XFLEX HYDRO) project, an EU-funded initiative led by a consortium of utilities, manufacturers, universities and consultancies. The project will enhance hydropower’s role in modern markets with increasing penetration of variable renewables.

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