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The challenge

As the hydropower sector prepares for the future, a growing number of assets are due for modernisation.

By 2030 over half of the world’s existing hydropower facilities will have undergone, or will be due to undergo, upgrading and modernisation, according to IHA’s hydropower database. 

By 2050, all current hydropower facilities are predicted to require modernisation. 

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To ensure that existing assets are retained and available to meet the future role of hydropower in energy systems, traditional modernisation practices will need to consider more than just ‘business as usual’ replacements. 

Major refurbishment projects will look at both improved performance and innovative technologies. For example, fast response capability and optimised operating modes can ensure that hydropower assets have the flexibility to support higher penetrations of variable renewables.

A successful modernisation programme will bring the best technologies from the next generation of hydropower projects to an existing facility.


Our strategy and action

IHA is supporting the exchange of industry experiences and innovation in modernisation programmes. 

We are working closely with our members to explore the range of investment strategies for improving and extending the lives of existing hydropower assets.

Throughout 2019, we will compile a compendium of case studies illustrating well-established and cutting-edge methodologies to showcase some of the best examples of modernisation. We will consult with our members to share knowledge on decision-making processes, including challenging life extension decisions and innovative enhancements.

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Our modernisation work programme will gain insights into how organisations are improving equipment design to provide greater functionality and flexibility within the changing energy system, enhance grid support, reduce operating costs and build resilience to climate change.

IHA members will benefit from briefings and webinars on accepted good practice from leading organisations in the hydropower sector.


Recent activities

To learn more about our recent activities, read our Activity and Strategy Report for 2018-2019.

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Join the network

Members can exchange experiences and learn from industry experts on successful modernisation programmes by joining IHA’s Asset Management Knowledge Network

Hydropower Pro

IHA members can access the knowledge network in Hydropower Pro, our online member community.

In the online group, network members can connect with each other, exchange experiences and access essential resources, briefings and case studies.

For any questions, please contact IHA analyst David Samuel at 

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