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
Hydropower continues to be a catalyst for growth around the world as it remains the dominant form of renewable energy, having contributed over 16 per cent of the globe’s electricity production in 2016.Type:Blog postDate:27 June 2017
Global declines in water storage are increasingly troubling. With greater hydrological variability due to climate change, more storage will be vital to provide the same level of security of water, food and energy.Type:Blog postDate:8 June 2017
The 2017 World Hydropower Congress took place on 9–11 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Type:Blog postDate:31 May 2017
IHA participated in the second biennial Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC) on 17-19 May. The conference brings together researchers and implementers to discuss the closely linked issues of water, soil and waste.Type:Blog postDate:31 May 2017
This article is featured in the 2017 Hydropower Status Report, launched at the World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa in May 2017.Type:Blog postDate:22 May 2017