The wide-ranging benefits of hydropower are often misunderstood or under-reported.
Benefits of hydropower include flexible energy generation and storage, as well as reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
Benefits to local communities include flood protection and water supply for domestic and commercial use, as well as opportunities for employment, education and recreation. Hydropower facilities also provide a boost to national economic growth through trade, transport and tourism.
Environmental benefits include pollution control and reduction of carbon emissions. Hydropower can also boost food security with a reliable source of water for irrigation.
These benefits are, however, often under-reported, and companies struggle to collect, quantify and share information on them. This is partially due to non-power related benefits being difficult to measure.
The absence of an adequate framework to define and quantify these benefits makes it difficult for society to evaluate them.
Our strategy and action
IHA supports its members to articulate the multipurpose benefits of hydropower.
Since IHA was first established, we have been building and sharing knowledge on the benefits of hydropower.
Our hydropower benefits work programme highlights the benefits which are not always built into the design of projects, but can be leveraged from them. Opportunities for non-power benefits should be evaluated and implemented in dialogue with affected communities.
We have been collaborating with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank and several IHA members on research initiatives. These initiatives are focused on how we can identify and quantify impacts and benefit sharing mechanisms to better assess and articulate how hydropower projects can contribute to the realisation of the SDGs.
Our ongoing work looks at methods of identifying and quantifying of the benefits of hydropower development at country and regional levels, as well as best practices to provide local communities with hydropower benefits.
Latest associated content
The 23rd World Energy Congress on 9–13 October in Istanbul, Turkey, will feature a discussion on hydropower’s role in a water-stressed world.Type:Blog postDate:14 September 2016
Eric Martel is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Québec, having taken up the role in July 2015.Type:Blog postDate:23 August 2016
23 August 2016
The International Hydropower Association is expanding its knowledge networks initiative to include eight topics identified as the most challenging for the sector.Type:News postDate:23 August 2016
Hydropower projects can bring significant benefits to developing and emerging economies, providing essential services such as electricity generation, freshwater management and climate adaptation.Type:Blog postDate:18 April 2016
33 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2015, including 2.5 GW of pumped storage, according to estimates in our new briefing, 2016 Key Trends in HydroType:Blog postDate:1 March 2016