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
For those of you planning on flying into Bhutan, don’t watch this – I hadn’t when I flew in and am grateful that I did not.Type:Blog postDate:17 October 2014
This short video introduces the role of hydropower in the world today and the future challenges for sustainable development.Type:Blog postDate:22 August 2014
In February 2014, Canadian utility Manitoba Hydro announced a memorandum of understanding with US power co-operative Great River Energy to jointly investigate the sale of up to 600 MW of electricity from new hydropower projects.Type:Blog postDate:2 May 2014
Early-stage planning is under way for a multi-purpose hydropower programme on the Sava River in Croatia.Type:Blog postDate:19 March 2014
A recent report from researchers at Oxford University questions the economic viability of large-scale hydropower development, highlighting cost and schedule overruns.Type:Blog postDate:13 March 2014