2 April 2020
The next United Nations climate conference (COP26), to be hosted by the UK government in November 2020, has been postponed due to the worldwide effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers have said.
The International Hydropower Association (IHA), an official observer organisation, recognises the need for this unprecedented decision, which will see the summit rescheduled to an as-yet-unconfirmed date in 2021.
In a statement, IHA Chief Executive Eddie Rich said: “Given the present global health and economic situation, the organisers of COP26 have made the right decision to postpone this year’s conference.
“While Covid-19 is our most pressing threat, with the tragic impacts on families everywhere requiring urgent action, we must not lose sight of the existential threat to the planet posed by climate change. The tireless efforts currently being deployed to beat Coronavirus show us that, in times of crisis, the seemingly impossible can quickly become possible.
“The worldwide response to Covid-19 will rely on government stimulus packages to kickstart national economies. These must be in line with the carbon reduction commitments made in the Paris Agreement. Investing in clean energy infrastructure will support workers, families and communities today, while helping to secure our planet’s future.
“Governments, business and civil society stakeholders must now consider the policy frameworks required to support the green growth economy and prioritise vital public and private investment in sustainable and renewable energy projects. This will mean considering ways to incentivise finance and reduce barriers to development, while ensuring that new projects meet internationally recognised environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance standards.
“The hydropower sector, the largest contributor to total renewable electricity generation, will continue to play its part in providing climate change solutions. Sustainable hydropower will provide affordable, clean energy and will accelerate the adoption of other renewables, while safely managing freshwater supplies and protecting communities against floods and drought.
“Now, more than ever, collaboration and dialogue are needed to advance global sustainable energy and the transformation towards a low-carbon energy future. IHA, under the mandate given to us by our members to advance sustainable hydropower, will continue working vigorously with our members and partners to deliver the ambition needed to tackle present and future threats.”
1 April 2020
On 25 March, IHA joined 30 experts at a HYDROPOWER EUROPE workshop to discuss research and innovation priorities for the future of Europe’s hydropower industry.
The workshop was a key step forward in the development of HYDROPOWER EUROPE’s Research and Innovation Agenda (RIA) and Strategic Industry Roadmap (SIR).
HYDROPOWER EUROPE is an EU Horizon 2020 funded project. The aim of the RIA is to provide recommendations on research and innovation priorities for hydropower to EU institutions and national authorities. The SIR will deliver insight on community views on hydropower projects; best/innovative practices in hydropower development; and recommendations on how hydropower can contribute to a successful energy system transition, preserve the environment and increase societal resilience. The SIR will consider societal needs and trends as well as European energy policy and ambition.
Eleven topics are covered:
- Barriers to large scale deployment of all sizes of hydropower
- Hydropower for a better society
- Continual improvement of the protection of environment
- Funding hydropower research and deployment
- Increasing flexibility
- Optimisation of operations and maintenance
- Resilience of electromechanical equipment, construction and material technology
- Resilience of infrastructures
- Developing new emerging concepts
- Environmental-friendly solutions
- Mitigating impact of global warming
IHA’s David Samuel, Senior Analyst, led on a session on how to achieve increased flexibility in the EU power system; through hydropower technologies being demonstrated in projects such as the EU Horizon 2020 XFLEX HYDRO and HydroFlex projects.
IHA believes greater flexibility can be achieved through:
- Technologies and innovations in pumped storage, reservoir storage and run-of river (at existing and new hydropower sites).
- Policy and markets. Policy should ensure hydropower services are properly valued and incentivised using current and new approaches; maximising potential to access new power markets.
In the draft RIA and SIR flexibility is addressed widely, especially in these RIA priority areas:
- Innovation in pumped (and other) flexibility storage design and operations
- Innovative turbines' (including reversible pump-turbines) and generators' design
- New models and simulation tools for harsher operation conditions
The HYDROPOWER EUROPE consortium comprises 8 partners: ICOLD: International Commission on Large Dams (coordinator); EASE: European Association for Storage of Energy; EREF: European Renewable Energies Federation; EUREC: Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres; IHA: International Hydropower Association; SAMUI: Samui France sarl; VGB: VGB PowerTech e.V.; Zabala Innovation Consulting (Zabala Brussels).
27 March 2020
Exploring the theme of ‘Water and Climate Change’, UN Water’s annual report on World Water Day on 22 March 2020 highlighted that hydropower forms an essential part of the solution to climate change.
“Hydropower will continue playing a role in climate change mitigation and adaptation of the energy sector,” the World Water Development Report stated, acknowledging the need for low-carbon renewable energy.
The paper recognised the flexibility offered by hydropower projects in power generation, allowing for better integration of variable electricity delivered by wind and solar power into the grid.
Moreover, multipurpose hydropower reservoirs “contribute to flow regulation, flood control and availability of water for irrigation,” the report said.
To maximise their role in mitigating climate change, hydropower projects need to be developed and operated sustainably, taking into biodiversity, river ecology and hydrology, sediment transport, and local livelihoods, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, the paper noted.
This is where the internationally recognised Hydropower Sustainability Tools and associated IHA tools and guidelines have a role to play in strengthening hydropower’s economic, social and governance performance.
The Hydropower Sustainability Tools exist to ensure that hydropower projects can be built in accordance with good and best practice. These tools comprise Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice (HGIIP), an Assessment Protocol (HSAP) and ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG).
Welcoming the report, Eddie Rich, CEO of IHA said, “To address climate change, electricity needs to be significantly decarbonised. This has only been achieved where there has been a significant contribution from hydropower. As the World Water Development Report highlights, we don’t just need more hydropower development – it has to be environmentally and socially sustainable.”
UN Water also released a Climate Change and Water Policy Brief for World Water Day which recognised that IHA’s Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide published in 2019, “offers a methodology for identifying, assessing and managing climate risks to enhance the resilience of hydropower projects."
The GHG Reservoir (G-res) Tool, launched by IHA in 2017, allows companies, investors and consultants to report on the carbon footprint of a reservoir. Using readily available input data, the tool provides a cost-effective way to more accurately assess net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Maria Ubierna, Research & Policy Focal Point at IHA said, "We will continue to provide the necessary tools to the renewable energy sector to become ready for the challenges that climate change poses. Hydropower projects of all types and sizes can deliver services and benefit society in a climate-resilient and low-carbon way."
Message from President Roger Gill
Covid-19 will significantly impact our industry. It will hamper global supply chains, delay construction and temporarily reduce demand. Furthermore, low oil prices are back on the agenda.
We are yet to see or understand the depth or length of the crisis on hydropower. However, we must continue to focus on long-term planning and make effective use of our time during the crisis.
Covid-19 will reset our society and economy. There will be a rethink about energy systems and the pathways towards decarbonisation. There will be a rethink about our global interconnectivity and how we meet the sustainable development goals.
IHA will be ready to voice the role of sustainable hydropower in delivering a better post-Covid society.
Roger Gill, President of IHA
Message from CEO Eddie Rich
This is a challenging time for everyone – for individuals affected by the virus, for the global economy, for businesses and for the hydropower sector more generally.
Our thoughts are with those facing personal and business challenges. The world is learning a lot about itself from this pandemic, and there is clearly going to be a lot of pain over the next few months or even longer.
Throughout this crisis, IHA will continue to support our members and partners and work to advance sustainable hydropower.
All our staff are now working from home until future notice. Travel has been cancelled for the next 30 days and the next IHA Board meeting on 13 May will be held virtually. But while our ability to organise or attend physical events is curtailed, we will remain the voice of the sustainable hydropower sector, building and sharing knowledge and delivering services digitally.
You can connect with our team as normal via email, through our website Hydropower.org, through our online community Hydropower Pro, and through our Knowledge Networks. In the coming weeks we will be launching new publications and developing and delivering new online events and training courses.
As the hydropower sector, like the rest of the energy sector, grapples with the new global reality, we want to hear from our members and partners. How have you been impacted, and what actions are you taking or do you expect to take to mitigate these impacts?
Talk to IHA and we will be your voice on the international stage.
Eddie Rich, CEO of IHA
19 March 2020
10 March 2020
The World Bank has published a handbook and series of case studies on hydropower operations and maintenance (O&M) to help enhance the efficiency and reliability of the worldwide hydropower fleet.
The development of the handbook and case studies was supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and its member organisations, providing real-life examples of O&M strategies in practice.
María Ubierna, IHA’s Hydropower Specialist and Research and Policy Team Focal Point, welcomed the World Bank publication and said the association was delighted to contribute. “Global decarbonisation efforts rely on the hydropower fleet continuing to provide vital generation, flexibility and storage services to electricity systems,” she said.
“Access to this essential handbook and case studies will help owners and operators to optimise and maintain their facilities to fully realise the benefits of hydropower to the grid.”
The publication is intended to be used by asset owners, facility and utility managers, decision-makers in government, utility operators, private developers, independent power producers and financial institutions, including development banks.
Its recommendations aim to help optimise hydropower station performance while also safeguarding the natural environment and local communities. It defines basic principles and provides examples of the consequences of inadequate O&M policies, programmes and procedures.
The case studies from public utilities and private companies in Brazil, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Uruguay are structured around the strategies described in the handbook.
Pierre Lorillou, Senior Hydropower Specialist at the World Bank, said: “A lack of O&M strategies and resources often results in frequent and severe outages, which can result in high costs, losses of valuable electricity, and sometimes a threat to the sustainability of hydropower facilities. We hope that this handbook will support preparing such strategies and mobilise resources where deemed necessary.”
The handbook was developed following the World Hydropower Congress in Ethiopia in May 2017, when delegates agreed on the need for a tool to support the preparation of O&M strategies for countries with limited capacity and a challenging business environment.
The six case studies are:
- Statkraft Energias Renovaveis, Brazil
- Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant, Liberia
- Kainji-Jebba Hydropower Complex, Nigeria
- New Bong Escape Hydropower Project, Pakistan
- Nalubaale-Kiira Hydropower Complex, Uganda
- Salto Grande Hydropower Complex, Uruguay/Argentina