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December 2014

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.

Greenhouse gases workshopsThe first of the workshops, convened by IHA, focused on developing a screening tool to estimate the impact of a reservoir on the greenhouse gas exchanges that occur in a river basin.

The screening tool is expected to be launched at the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing.

The second workshop, convened by IEA-Hydro, moved forward the development of modelling guidelines in relation to the study of the greenhouse gas status of reservoirs.

Atle Harby, director of the Centre for the Environmental Design of Renewables (CEDREN), attended both workshops. He said: “We have seen cases where we actually think a hydropower reservoir is acting as a greenhouse gas sink. 

“If we can elaborate more on that and find out the best way to build hydropower, then it could really contribute by introducing renewables without creating more emissions.” 

Li Chong of China Three Gorges Corporation, another perticipant, said: “We hope that we can evaluate the GHG emission of China’s large hydropower projects by getting to know this tool. 

“Going forward, I hope we can reach a consensus on the modules, and help to promote our work relating to it.”

Tormod Schei, vice president and head of climate science at Statkraft, said: “We need to estimate this problem and get a quantitative grip on what is happening so we can give the correct picture. 

“IHA is doing a very good job on trying to come up with the tools that can be used in this context.”

Dr Chen Shiun, Sarawak Energy Berhad, said: “The first objective of the tool is to understand which projects are high-risk and which are low-risk, so we know which are the good projects to pursue.

“If we can figure out the parameters influencing the greenhouse gas status of ecosystems, then we can do a better job because we will be able to come up with mitigation measures to improve on it.”

Video interviews with participants will be available in January 2015.

UNESCO-IHP is convening a session on water quality and greenhouse gases at the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing. Find out more here.


The International Hydropower Associations has been shortlisted in three categories of the Associations Excellence Awards 2015.

Association Excellence AwardsThe association made the final list for Overall Best International Association, Best Association Website, and Best Training Initiative for IHA Sustainability Partnerships.

The awards recognise individuals, teams and initiatives and highlight excellence in how associations operate and serve their members.

The full list of finalists is available here.

The new IHA website was launched in July 2014 after months of research and consultation with the association’s members, performance analysis, and creative development. It was unveiled in tandem with a new visual identity.

IHA Sustainability Partnerships are the association’s approach to implementing the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, a tool that measures hydropower projects across a range of social, environmental, economic and technical considerations, aiming to continuously improve sustainability performance.

Through these partnerships, IHA facilitates a series of training workshops with hydropower companies to build capacity and understanding on how the tool can be used in a range of contexts, and to build and share knowledge on good, sustainable practices in hydropower development worldwide.

The award winners will be announced at a lunchtime ceremony on Friday 27 February 2015.


The African Union Commission has confirmed it will be an official partner of the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing.

African Union flagThe event takes place on 19–21 May and will feature a special session on the future of hydropower in Africa, which will be co-convened by IHA and the African Union Commission.

Dr Elham Ibrahim, the AU’s commissioner for infrastructure and energy, said: “We are very pleased to announce this collaboration with the International Hydropower Association at a time when energy and infrastructure will be crucial to meeting Africa's vision for the next half century.

"Hydropower is central to our targets for growth, yet around 92 per cent of the hydropower potential across Africa has not been developed. Achieving this vision will not be possible without consensus between governments, industry and civil society, so the World Hydropower Congress will give us a great opportunity to further the dialogue."

You can read a blog post by Dr Elham Ibrahim on the role of hydropower in Africa here.

Richard Taylor, chief executive of IHA, said: “Africa will be a key market for new hydropower development between now and 2050, so we are delighted to strengthen our collaboration with the African Union.

“Our focus will be on how Africa’s great untapped resources can be utilised in a sustainable way to bring hundreds of millions of people out of energy poverty.”

You can find out more about the World Hydropower Congress here.


Working in Saudi Arabia for over five years, Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) has been assisting Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to expand the overall knowledge and experience of local utility staff. 

Saudi Arabia“Leveraging our international experience and parent utility’s methods, MHI’s focus in Saudi Arabia is to provide ongoing support, technical expertise, and uniformity to the local power industry,” says Dan Shiels, general manager, MHI Saudi Arabian Branch.

In January 2010, MHI commenced its operations in Saudi Arabia, signing a three-year contract with SEC. Five years later, MHI has established a permanent branch office in Saudi Arabia, and employs 28 staff members and four Saudi Nationals. 

“MHI works closely with SEC to provide customised services, sustainable results, and true value,” says Mr. Shiels. “We are committed to creating a lasting partnership with SEC and collaborating to achieve their desired outcomes.”

For nearly 30 years, MHI has provided utility management, consulting, and training services to over 75 countries. Working with SEC, MHI provides technical expertise for the operation and maintenance of the transmission system, with primary voltages of 100 kV and above. The power system in Saudi Arabia has an annual growth rate of 10 per cent and the peak demand in 2014 was approximately 54,000 MW.

“Providing quality knowledge transfer to local utility staff is the key to improved power system performance,” adds Mr. Shiels. “Our staff members use their utility-related expertise to help build the capacity of local workers and assist them to perform their work in a consistent manner.”

The majority of MHI staff is located in the capital city of Riyadh. MHI staff members working in Saudi Arabia have the opportunity to discover the mesmeric desert country, immerse themselves in Saudi culture, explore surrounding regions, and partake in interesting and challenging initiatives. 

“Working in the Middle East is full of scenic and inspiring adventures,” says Mr. Shiels. “Our energetic team is able to meet remarkable people from all over the world, participate in challenging and rewarding work, and put their professional skills to good use.” 

As a wholly owned subsidiary of a renowned Canadian energy utility, Manitoba Hydro, MHI assists clients to deliver electricity and natural gas efficiently, effectively, and in a sustainable manner. To learn more about MHI’s exciting employment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, visit

The Nature Conservancy, a non-governmental organisation that works to conserve ecologically important lands and waters and all that they provide for people and nature, will be a main sponsor of the 2015 World Hydropower Congress.

The Nature Conservancy

The congress, hosted by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), takes place at the Yanqi Lake complex in Beijing’s Huairou District on 19–21 May 2015.

While the Conservancy has participated in previous years as a partner, as a main sponsor, it will have a much more prominent role in planning and shaping the congress’ content. 

This is the first time an environmental NGO has sponsored the biennial event, signifying the wide-ranging interest in finding  new solutions and partnerships to improve the environmental and social sustainability of hydropower. 

In an article explaining why the Conservancy is stepping up its collaboration with IHA, which you can read in full here, its Director of Sustainable Hydropower Dr. Jeff Opperman said, “We want to do our part to help create a future world, one where people can live, learn and thrive supported by a sustainable energy system and one that harbours beautiful and productive rivers, including wild ones.

"The strongest contribution we can make as an organisation to achieve that vision is to build on our history of partnerships and find science-based, common-ground solutions for sustainable hydropower.”

Commenting on the Conservancy’s decision to sponsor the World Hydropower Congress, Richard Taylor, IHA’s CEO, remarked that “this is a new step in the partnership between IHA and the Conservancy, building on the positive results of our growing collaboration over the recent years”.

You can learn more about The Nature Conservancy here.