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May 2017

The first assessment of the Hydropower Assessment Protocol in Costa Rica will be carried out at the Reventazón project, currently the largest facility in Central America. The World Bank selected the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad – ICE) to apply the protocol at Reventazón, with the first site on 22-27 May.

Dam Reventazon Costa RicaLaunched at the World Hydropower Congress in 2011, the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is a tool to evaluate the sustainability of hydropower projects, and can be used at all stages of project development, from preparation through to operation. It has so far been used in over 25 sites around the world.

The assessment is being led by the Canadian firm Golder Associates, and the first visit involved an introductory and technical workshop on 23-25 May with participation from state institutions, developers, NGOs, and other hydropower stakeholders.

Carlos Obregón, executive president of ICE, said: “The projects selected for this purpose must demonstrate a high level of commitment and achievement, which puts Reventazón in an elite group in the Latin American region. We hope this assessment will strengthen the project’s credentials as a leader in socio-environmental management, as it has done for other international organisations”.

IHA, with support from the World Bank, recently launched a collection of case studies, ‘Better Hydro: Compendium of Case Studies’, which features Reventazón as an example of the implementation of a broader initiative to offset biodiversity impacts.

The evaluation should conclude in September 2017, culminating in a seminar in November where the results will be shared. 

The 2017 World Hydropower Congress concluded with a series of commitments to better hydro, delivered by a broad range of organisations and institutions that participated in Addis Ababa. 

2017 World Hydropower CongressArchana Agrawal, joint secretary, Indian Ministry of Power, led the closing session of the congress with a speech describing the “great and ambitious plans for Africa, the rising giant for hydropower” presented at the congress. She said it would be “a great thing” to witness the sustainable energy transformation of the continent. 

Representing the African Union Commission (AUC), Cheick Ould Bedda, director of infrastructure and energy, praised “a world class event” and confirmed the commitment of the AUC and all of the African countries towards better hydro. 

A series of commitments by organisations followed, beginning with congress organising partner Global Energy Interconnection Development Organization (GEIDCO), represented by Xuming Liang, chief engineer. He confirmed GEIDCO’s commitment to faster implementation of global energy interconnection (GEI), and particularly to improving electrification and building a sustainable energy future for Africa. 

Antoine Badinier, deputy vice-president of EDF Hydropower Generation & Engineering Division, credited Ethiopia and all of the African countries in their efforts to promote sustainable energy. He explained EDF’s vision of “green and shared growth”, to benefit future generations, and expressed the need to modernise our energy systems: “Our energy is old, we need to change the way we develop it and ensure everyone can benefit from it.”

A commitment from China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) followed, delivered by Lin Chuxue, executive vice president, who declared CTG’s continued commitment to supporting the World Hydropower Congress. He described the company’s commitment to building expertise and capabilities, together with IHA, NGOs and development agencies, to assist African countries in harnessing their water and hydropower resources in a sustainable way.     

China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co Ltd was represented by Guo Ricai, co-president, who expressed the need to “improve interconnection and boost the construction of cross-continental and national smart grids”, and reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the World Hydropower Congress and the better hydro cause. 

Robin Goodman, GE Renewable Energy’s hydro services leader, spoke of the “opportunities to modernise hydro for the better”. He described the company’s commitment to “boosting local capabilities and the sustainability of our industry” through a capacity-building programme, including through a memorandum of understanding the company signed during the congress with Addis Ababa University. 

The Nature Conservancy was represented by its programme director for Gabon, Marie-Claire Paiz, who described the organisation’s commitment as a “partner to identify and test solutions to clean energy and maintaining healthy rivers”. She reiterated the principle of developing “the right projects, in the right place and in the right way” and described the new tools and approaches being designed to reduce the environmental, social and financial risks at the early stages of hydropower development. 

Zhou Xiong, general manager, represented Shandong Electrical Engineering and Equipment Co Ltd, and confirmed his company’s commitment to providing the highest quality products and services to support the energy transition in Africa. He called on the hydropower community to “join hands and work together to achieve the sustainable development of hydro in an interconnected world”. 

He was followed by Heike Bergmann, senior vice president of Voith Hydro, who stressed the need to “work together on this future”. She described Voith’s commitment to “engage more in helping solve challenges and build infrastructure in Africa”, and finished by stating that “we are for a better world and better hydro implementation – that is our commitment”.

Linus Mofor from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) said that “better hydro will play a key role in the structural transformation we are promoting for Africa” and called for climate resilience to be fully integrated into better hydro. 

Gabriel Azevedo delivered commitments on behalf of the Inter-American Investment Corpration (IIC), describing the need for solid partnerships. He reminded delegates that “stakeholders that used to fear us are now our partners, committed to delivering better hydro together”. He concluded by calling on the hydropower community to “commit to the development of better hydro not as an objective but as a means to contribute to a better and more sustainable world for future generations”.

Other commitments came on behalf of the WWF and Eranove. 

Ken Adams, president of IHA, closed the session and announced the launch of the Better Hydro Compendium of Case Studies 2017, a collection of examples of good practice in sustainable hydropower. He said that “the Better Hydro compendium shows it can be done well, it can be done right” and described how the exchanges of the past few days “show we’re doing our part to tackle the huge challenges ahead of us, and we will continue to do so”.  

The publication can be downloaded here.

Before congress officially closed, it was announced that the 2019 World Hydropower Congress will take place in France


The World Hydropower Congress will be hosted in Paris in 2019, it was announced at the closing of the 2017 event in Addis Ababa.

Ken AdamsIn his closing speech at the United Nations Conference Center, IHA president Ken Adams said: “We cannot to wait to see you in France in two years so we can continue our journey together.”

China Three Gorges Corporation, EDF and GE Renewable Energy have all made commitments to supporting the 2019 World Hydropower Congress in France.


A new collection of case studies highlighting good practice in sustainable hydropower development, Better Hydro: Compendium of Case Studies 2017, has been launched at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa.

Better HydroYou can download Better Hydro: Compendium of Case Studies 2017 here.

The collection of 34 case studies is based on assessments carried out under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, a tool developed through multi-stakeholder consensus that measures the sustainability of projects across a range of social, environmental, economic and technical considerations. The case studies are written by accredited assessors who carried out the assessments on-site.

Topic case studies focus on specific aspects of development, such as ‘indigenous people’, ‘cultural heritage’, ‘economic viability’, and ‘water quality’ (23 are covered in total).

In addition, the publication features five project-wide case studies that cover a broad geographical scope and focus on different stages of project development. Finally, six more general initiatives demonstrating innovative local and regional approaches are also detailed.

Richard Taylor, IHA Chief Executive, said: "By using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, project developers have been able to identify gaps in their practices and processes, and better understand how they can be addressed. 

"This has brought forth some invaluable information for the sector as a whole, but until now this has not been made widely accessible. With the publication of this compendium, we are taking an important step towards sharing these examples."

10 May 2017 - The G-res tool was launched today at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa. G-res enables decision-makers and stakeholders to better estimate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the introduction of a reservoir into a landscape. 

Yves PrairieLaunched by IHA in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair for Global Environmental Change, this publicly-available, web-based tool can be used to measure net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on existing or planned reservoirs. 

GHG emissions from natural inland waters, such as streams, rivers and lakes, are significant sources of atmospheric carbon. The creation of a reservoir alters the natural flows of a water body, adding additional organic matter due to the flooding of surrounding areas, which generates carbon dioxide and methane during decomposition. Current research indicates that on average, 75 per cent of CO2 emissions observed on reservoir surfaces can be considered natural, meaning they would have occurred even if the reservoir had not been created. Methane emissions, meanwhile, present a much more significant environmental challenge. 

Accurate estimation of the emissions from reservoirs and understanding the factors that contribute to these are essential for determining the design characteristics of new reservoirs, and for explaining variability in emissions between reservoirs. The G-res tool can be used to calculate the net change in emissions that can be attributed to the creation of a reservoir. It therefore offers a reliable picture of the real environmental impact of the creation of a reservoir. 

G-res also takes into account emissions generated by reservoir construction, and by recognising the different services offered by reservoir creation, the tool allows for improved GHG accounting of associated human activities. Many reservoirs serve multiple purposes, including water supply, irrigation, hydropower, flood control, environmental management and pollution control. 

The tool builds on a conceptual framework developed by researchers from the University of Québec at Montreal (UQÀM), the Norwegian Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF) and the Natural Resources Institute of Finland (LUKE). It utilises a new modelling methodology based on current scientific knowledge and over 500 empirical measurements from over 200 reservoirs worldwide. 

Find out more about the G-res tool at