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Operations and maintenance

The challenge

Innovative approaches to the operations and maintenance (O&M) of hydropower facilities are needed to ensure optimal performance.

Poor operations and maintenance, through a lack of investment, inadequate training or outdated approaches, can cause high outage rates, performance losses and increased operating costs. This can lead to lost energy production, reduced revenues and in some cases result in dam safety and environmental concerns.

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As new industry standards are introduced, hydropower developers and operators in all regions are seeking more efficient, cost-effective methods for maintaining their existing hydropower assets.

The ongoing revolution in digitisation of control systems to enhance operations and reduce maintenance costs, coupled with the need to balance other variable renewable technologies such as wind and solar, is helping to drive innovation in O&M for the hydropower sector.


Our strategy and action

IHA is disseminating knowledge on innovation in operations and maintenance.

We are supporting members to better understand and exchange information on good practices in O&M for both existing and future hydropower plants.

This will enable hydropower operators to enhance performance, reduce maintenance costs and also integrate with other renewables through the operational flexibility and energy storage that hydropower can offer.

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Through the preparation of research briefings and hosting webinars, we are assisting the global hydropower sector to understand and adapt to the digitisation revolution in operations and maintenance.

In addition, we are working with the World Bank on cost-effective models for O&M in developing countries, where there may be a lack of capacity and limited funds.


Recent activities

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In September 2017, IHA’s new Board approved the Operations and Maintenance knowledge programme at its inaugural meeting.

In October 2017, IHA was represented on a panel discussion at Hydro 2017, hosted by Voith, to discuss how digitisation will transform the hydropower sector.

In November 2017, we hosted a webinar on digitisation in the hydropower sector, with over 150 IHA members taking part. The webinar saw presentations by GE and Voith, two of the world’s leading organisations in digitisation.

In December 2017, discussions took place with the World Bank on a new initiative, the Strategy for Sustainable Operation & Maintenance for Hydropower (SOMH) Initiative, to develop guidelines around good practice in O&M for hydropower assets.


Join the network

Members interested in exchanging experiences and best practices on operations and maintenance can join our 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 senior analyst Bill Girling at

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