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May 2018

31 May 2018

Business and policy leaders exchanged views on how to accelerate the adoption of renewable technologies at the Beijing Forum on Hydropower and Future Energy Systems in China last week.

The forum organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) brought together more than 100 global leaders and experts in planning and developing small and large-scale energy systems.


The delegates discussed national and regional efforts to finance the energy transition, enable storage and scale up interconnections between countries. A consensus view was that investment in hydropower is essential to deliver affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.

“Accelerating the development of hydropower is essential for the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement,” said Mr Zhou Yuanbing, Director-General of the Economic & Technology Research Institute of the Beijing-headquartered Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO).

“Hydropower has several inherent characteristics that can be played to its full advantage - it is mature, flexible and very cost effective,” he noted.

“One of the strengths of hydropower is that it can be developed at a whole range of scales, from kilowatts to gigawatts,” said Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, in his opening address. He pointed to innovation in China, at one end of the spectrum, where turbines are being developed to reach 1 GW in generating capacity.

“That a single turbine can have the same capacity as a major power station is an extraordinary technological achievement. At the other end of the spectrum, hydropower is a technology which can bring electricity to remote communities for the very first time.”

The Beijing Forum on Hydropower and Future Energy Systems was held between 21 and 22 May 2018 at the headquarters of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG). The event was co-sponsored by CTG, the China Society for Hydropower Engineering (CSHE), the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) and GEIDCO.

In addition to IHA members, attendees included government, financial and multilateral institutions such as the China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration, the China Development Bank, the International Renewable Energy Agency, UNESCO, and the World Bank Group.

In his address, Mr Taylor warned of the “tremendous challenge” faced in financing the carbon reduction targets underpinning the Paris Agreement, as well as the SDGs. “Trillions of dollars will be needed to meet the targets – and there are those who say these targets are not sufficient,” he said.

During the forum, delegates heard that the World Bank Group has committed to double investment in renewable electricity to 20 GW over the next five years. “This doubling is not possible without hydropower,” said Pravin Karki, Lead for Hydropower and Dams, who participated in a panel discussion on financing the energy transition.

Mr Karki cited the Hydropower Preparation Facility model which is being promoted by IHA to help governments identify sustainable projects while reducing development risks for developers and investors. “It will promote better planning of sustainable hydropower,” he said.

Mr Chen Sunjiao, Director-General of China Development Bank’s Project Appraisal Department, supported efforts by IHA and other organisations to deliver tools to advance sustainable hydropower. “Hydropower is a green source of power and that’s why we must follow green guidelines,” he said.

Mr Zhang Ye, President of CSHE, congratulated IHA for enabling international cooperation on future energy systems and for its work programmes on hydropower finance and sustainability. “Throughout the years IHA has been making dedicated efforts to promote the sustainable development of hydropower,” he said.

“China’s hydropower industry has benefitted a lot from such efforts through the access to global leading knowledge networks and tools such as the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.”

Presentations from the forum are available to IHA members; please contact to request copies. 

Visit the forum event webpage for more information.

Beijing, China, 24 May 2018

A record 4,185 terawatt hours (TWh) in electricity was generated from hydropower last year, according to the 2018 Hydropower Status Report, published today.

The worldwide installed capacity of commissioned hydropower plants rose to 1,267 gigawatts (GW) in 2017, according to the flagship report of the International Hydropower Association (IHA). Some 21.9 GW of capacity was added including 3.2 GW of pumped storage, bringing global pumped storage capacity to 153 GW.

By generating electricity from hydropower instead of coal, in 2017 the world prevented up to 4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases – and avoided a 10 per cent rise in global emissions from fossil fuels and industry – according to analysis by IHA. It also avoided 148 million tonnes of air polluting particulates, 62 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide, and 8 million tonnes of nitrogen oxide from being emitted.

The 2018 Hydropower Status Report, now in its fifth edition, provides statistics for installed capacity and estimated generation by country and by region.

It offers insights and key trends on the sector, and features highlight results of a sector-wide survey of leading decision-makers on the future of hydropower.

Leading energy and environment ministers from Australia; Ethiopia; Sarawak, Malaysia; and Scotland, UK; have contributed to the 2018 edition, explaining how investment in hydropower is supporting national development priorities and the clean energy transition.

The report shows that growth in hydropower in 2017 was fastest in East Asia and the Pacific, with 9.8 GW of capacity added, followed by South America (4.1 GW), South and Central Asia (3.3 GW), Europe (2.3 GW), Africa (1.9 GW) and North and Central America (0.5 GW).

China consolidated its status as the world’s largest producer of hydroelectric power, accounting for nearly half of global added installed capacity at 9.1 GW. It was followed by Brazil (3.4 GW), India (1.9 GW), Portugal (1.1 GW) and Angola (1.0 GW).

In addition, the report publishes findings from a study of the greenhouse gas footprint of 500 large hydropower reservoirs. The research used a new tool to assess net emissions and found hydropower’s median emissions intensity to be just 18.5 gCO2-eq/kWh.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, announced the 2018 Hydropower Status Report at the Beijing Forum on Hydropower and Future Energy Systems – one of a series of events organised by IHA in the lead-up to the World Hydropower Congress in Paris in May 2019.

Mr Taylor said: “This report serves to highlight the vital contribution of hydropower to meeting the world’s energy needs, without which we could not hope to achieve the ambitious carbon reduction targets that underpin the Paris Climate Agreement.


IHA Board members present the 2018 Hydropower Status Report ahead of its launch in Beijing, China, on 24 May 2018.

“Hydropower offers storage services which support growth in other renewables such as wind and solar, as well as water management and protection from floods and drought. In many countries around the world, however, the alternative to hydropower for electricity generation is coal, which means higher emissions and dangerous levels of pollution.”

In his article, the Chief Minister of Sarawak writes that development of hydropower – including the Murum project featured on the front cover of the 2018 Hydropower Status Report – has given Sarawak the lowest tariffs in Malaysia, and reduced carbon emissions by over 70 per cent.

Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Energy writes about Australia’s commitment to new pumped hydropower projects, including the 2,000 MW Snowy 2.0 Scheme, “the largest energy storage project in the southern hemisphere”.

Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, in his article, cites the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be the largest hydropower project in Africa when built, with an expected installed capacity of 6,450 MW.

Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy states that his government hopes to “reduce risks and remove barriers to investment” for new pumped hydropower projects, in order to enhance the flexibility and resilience of Scotland’s electricity network.

Download the 2018 report here:

Download infographics from the 2018 report here:

Hydropower operators, financial institutions, academics and humanitarian organisations gathered to share best practices in climate resilience and risk management in the hydropower sector at a workshop in Mexico City.

Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the workshop addressed technical, financial and humanitarian aspects of decision-making of risk management in development and operations.


The workshop, entitled ‘Climate Resilience and the Effective Management of Risk in the Hydropower Sector’, between 14 and 15 May 2018 was a side event at the Understanding Risk Forum organised by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).

It provided a platform to present outcomes of previous IHA workshops on hydrological and financial risks, as well as for IHA to present draft guidelines on hydropower sector climate resilience.  

María Ubierna, senior analyst at IHA, said: “The guidelines will incorporate climate change resilience and hydrological risk management into hydropower project appraisal, design, construction and operation, resulting in more robust and resilient projects. They will address the needs of the wider financial community, policy makers and local communities.”

Supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank Group, IHA is hosting the secretariat for the coordination of the testing and revision of the guidelines, which aim to provide practical and workable international good practice guidance for project owners, governments, financial institutions and private developers.

During a discussion on factors in advancing climate resilience, Dr Emily Wilkinson, Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute’s Risk and Resilience Programme, spoke about the need to build climate resilience into public policy.

“We need to be demonstrating the full benefits of multi-purpose dams and promoting more of a national strategy around investing in hydropower: the full benefits and the co-benefits, thinking about flood risk management and opportunities,” Dr Wilkinson said.  

Another common theme of discussion concerned the importance of involving local communities in decision-making about hydropower project risk management.

Kara Siahaan, Senior Officer at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies shared how National Societies build resilience within their communities through the early action Forecast-based Financing (FbF) model that was developed by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre.

“Transforming early warning into early action is about assisting communities to have risk-informed approaches to address vulnerabilities, connecting communities with governments and partners and engaging them in the decision-making process,” said Ms Siahaan.

Iván Rodríguez, Manager of Hydropower Developments at the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), suggested that managing social aspects is “the key to unblock” the development of new projects in Mexico, where the last project was built in 2012.

Mr Rodríguez noted CFE’s project planning and monitoring of reservoir levels as particularly important in protecting surrounding areas and downstream communities.

The Mexico workshop was attended by more than 60 participants, who heard from representatives of more than 15 organisations during panel discussions, presentations and working groups. Participants included hydropower companies from France, Haiti, Malaysia and Mexico, including IHA members CFE and Sarawak Energy.

The Understanding Risk Forum, from 14 to 18 May 2018, is organised every two years by GFDRR. It brought together experts for collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation in identifying and assessing disaster risk.

To see the full list of speakers and workshop programme, please visit the event webpage. To get access to the presentations and the briefing from the workshop please join the Climate Resilience and River Basin Development knowledge networks.

The International Hydropower Association helped share knowledge on innovations and disruptive technologies in the hydropower sector at a recent World Bank workshop in Washington D.C.

The workshop, convened in April 2018 and co-organised with IHA, brought together hydropower developers, owners, service providers, equipment manufacturers, technical experts and consultants to investigate the benefits and risks of new technological trends.


Photo credit: Voith Hydro

Themes under discussion included how innovations can support future energy systems, how digital solutions such as artificial intelligence and blockchain may be relevant to hydropower operations, and the potential impact of technological disruptions on the sector.

“Hydropower, the largest source of renewable energy worldwide, is an integral component of the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy systems,” said Mathis Rogner, senior analyst at IHA. “However, a disruption in the energy sector translates to a fundamental transformation in how energy is supplied, distributed and used.

“This workshop provided an opportunity to explore the extent of the potential impact of innovative technologies on our current systems with the aim of establishing a better understaning in the context of hydropower.”

The workshop was opened by the World Bank's Senior Director and Head of the Energy and Extractive Industries Global Practice Riccardo Puliti, and its Global Lead for Hydropower and Dams Pravin Karki. IHA was represented by Chief Executive Richard Taylor and Mr Rogner.

A summary report of the workshop, produced by IHA, is available to members only. If you are an IHA member, contact Mathis Rogner at to request a copy. If you are not an IHA member and would like to access this exclusive report, please contact about membership opportunities. 

21 May 2018

With exactly a year to go to the 2019 World Hydropower Congress, co-organisers the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme welcomed Ambassadors and delegations to a special briefing in Paris.

The briefing, which was attended by more than 60 representatives of governments and the hydropower sector, took place at the UNESCO headquarters on 14 May 2018. This venue will host the Congress next year between 14 and 16 May 2019.


IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor said: “Today hydropower delivers around 1,260 GW of renewable electricity, which is enough for more than a billion people, and most of that is being delivered in developing countries.

“The World Hydropower Congress brings together industry, government, finance, academia and civil society to set priorities for the future direction of the hydropower sector,” he added.

Mr Taylor was joined by speakers from Congress partner organisations EDF and GE Renewable Energy, as well as UNESCO, who provided insights on the role of hydropower in delivering on climate and development targets.

With the theme of ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’, the seventh World Hydropower Congress will focus on hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Up to 100 countries are expected to be represented at the Congress. Details on registration, the agenda and speakers will be announced in the coming months. To express your interest in participating or sponsoring the Congress, please contact