There is a clear and pressing need to eliminate uncertainty in quantifying the greenhouse gas footprint of reservoirs.
The greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of hydropower, in particular the emissions caused by the creation of reservoirs, has long been questioned in both scientific and policy spheres.
Up until now, there has been no consensus on how to quantify this footprint.
The biochemical processes associated with the flooding of terrestrial land are very complex, and existing measurement techniques are both cumbersome and expensive.
This uncertainty has proved a significant obstacle in financing hydropower projects. There is an increasing need for policy and decision makers to better understand the GHG emissions of reservoirs.
Our strategy and action
IHA has led the way in developing a tool to reliably estimate the carbon emissions of hydropower.
Since 2006, we have partnered with UNESCO, the World Bank and leading research institutions, along with supporting members including CTG, EDF, Hydro Quebec, Landsvirkjun, Sarawak Energy and Statkraft.
We have taken a leadership role in advancing a common understanding of how GHG emissions arise from reservoirs, working closely with leading scientists.
This led, in 2017, to the launch of the G-res tool for estimating net emissions from reservoirs from both before and after development.
Throughout 2018, we will continue to offer assisted assessments using the G-res tool and dedicated training for users. We will also be updating and refining the tool as new empirical data and scientific insights come to light.
Our goal is for the G-res tool to be the internationally recognised methodology to reliably estimate GHG emissions, and allocate emissions to other services, including hydropower generation.
In May, the G-res tool was officially launched during the 2017 World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa. During the launch, preliminary G-res tool results for nearly 500 hydropower reservoirs were presented, emphasising the importance of multi-purpose reservoirs for development.
In November, the conceptual framework underlying the G-res tool methodology was published in the peer-reviewed journal Ecosystems.
In November, the G-res tool was presented at the Canadian Hydropower Forum in Canada.
In November, the G-res tool hydropower results were presented at the Enhancing Sustainability in Hydropower Development conference in Colombia.
Join the network
IHA’s Climate Mitigation Knowledge Network looks to build and share knowledge on the climate mitigation potential of hydropower reservoirs. Members can receive training, support services and assisted assessments using the G-res tool at a discounted price.
If you are an IHA member, you can join the Climate Mitigation Knowledge Network.
Latest associated content
The International Hydropower Association is working with UNESCO and IEA-Hydro to build a better understanding of hydropower's greenhouse gas footprint and role in mitigation.Type:Blog postDate:27 February 2015
Anita Marangoly George is the senior director of the World Bank Group's global energy practice.Type:Blog postDate:12 January 2015
On 1–5 December 2014, we hosted back-to-back workshops to transform knowledge on the greenhouse gas status of freshwater reservoirs into practical tools, bringing together leading scientists on the topic from around the world.Type:News postDate:18 December 2014
We have enjoyed a busy year in 2014 that has taken our team around the world, connecting members regionally and participating in many sector events. Here are just some of the highlights of our travels.Type:Blog postDate:18 December 2014
The International Hydropower Association’s ongoing work with its partners to improve knowledge and inform decision makers on the greenhouse gas (GHG) status of freshwater reservoirs is moving into a new phase.Type:News postDate:7 November 2014