28 October 2019
A new IHA how-to guide for hydropower developers and operators aims to increase understanding of benefit sharing in project development and operation.
The How-to Guide on Hydropower Benefit Sharing will help decision-makers identify and deliver socio-economic benefits to communities, while assisting companies to avoid business risks and improve project viability.
João Costa, Senior Sustainability Specialist at IHA, said: “Hydropower projects are developed to provide electricity and other essential services such as water supply or flood control. But they do more than that. Sustainable projects can provide important benefits for nearby communities, including economic infrastructure, electricity subsidies and local employment.
“This how-to guide will help industry professionals understand benefit sharing in hydropower and gain insights into the strategies and approaches towards achieving good international industry practice."
The publication provides an overview of current knowledge on benefit sharing across the hydropower sector, looking at beneficiaries and types of benefits, including those related to project siting and design, monetary and non-monetary, regulatory and voluntary, benefits, as well as governance and monitoring methodologies.
The guide aims to support developers and operators in meeting good practice, as defined by the internationally recognised Hydropower Sustainability Tools. It outlines a range of strategies to share benefits related to financial mechanisms, capacity-building, training and employment, procurement, social services, economic infrastructure, electrification and subsidies, and reservoir use.
Writing in the guide, lead author Joerg Hartmann concludes by recommending a partnership approach to benefit sharing. “Communities need to be empowered to take responsibility for their own development,” he said.
“A partnership approach depends on communities being treated as equals and with respect by projects and by government, and is a precondition for good community relations.”
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit membership organisation committed to sustainable hydropower. Our mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. We achieve this through sector monitoring, advancing strategies that strengthen performance, and building an open, innovative and trusted platform for knowledge.