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14 October 2020

A new training academy for hydropower specialists launched by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) will expand and improve knowledge in hydropower sustainability.



The Hydropower Sustainability Training Academy builds on IHA’s 25 years of experience in developing guidance on hydropower development, as well as its expertise in delivering training and capacity building. The courses are based on the internationally recognised Hydropower Sustainability Tools.

IHA’s Chief Executive Eddie Rich says the Academy marks a major step in widening access to knowledge about responsible hydropower development. “IHA’s mission is to advance sustainable hydropower. This new suite of courses aims to grow professional expertise across a range of sustainability performance areas. Restrictions on travel and social distancing measures as a result of the global pandemic have accelerated IHA’s plans to provide these courses virtually,” he added.

Comprehensive and practical courses

The Hydropower Sustainability Training Academy currently offers three professional training courses. Two of these courses are designed to help participants develop the skills and knowledge to become either a certified user or accredited assessor of the Hydropower Sustainability Tools.

The third course caters to practitioners who want to know how to accurately estimate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from hydropower projects using the G-res Tool. The courses will soon be available in a variety of languages with plans to expand the courses on offer in 2021.

Widely endorsed by industry, governments, financial institutions, and social and environmental non-profit organisations, The Hydropower Sustainability Tools are also aligned with World Bank and IFC standards. They are used by developers and operators around the world to design, build and assess hydropower projects of all types and sizes.

The training courses are targeted at professionals working with both the public and private sectors, including but not limited to programme managers, operations, energy, environmental, social, legal and dam specialists, and compliance officers. 

IHA’s Head of Sustainability Joao Costa said: “IHA’s training courses aim to equip participants with essential knowledge about good and best practices on sustainable hydropower. Providing insights on matters such as biodiversity, climate resilience, financial viability or resettlement, the trainers will cover all aspects that need to be managed in hydropower projects.

“Participants will become familiar with the sustainability assessment process, and will be able to recognise how and when to apply the Hydropower Sustainability Tools to elevate the way hydropower projects are developed.”

Training track record

IHA has a strong track record in providing in-person and online training to industry, multilateral institutions and governments. In the past year, IHA has provided virtual training to 140 employees of the World Bank, IFC and the Indonesian government as well as private sector stakeholders.

Pravin Karki, the World Bank Group’s Global Lead Hydropower and Dams commented that “IHA's Certified User Training and G-res Tool Training have been extremely valuable to World Bank staff, ensuring we are up to speed on good and best practice in sustainable hydropower. The online format is effective and professional and we encourage policy and practice specialists in the sector to take advantage of these courses.”

Training courses format

IHA provides the option of either in-person or online training (in-person training is currently on hold due to the global pandemic). The online platform launched today provides a blend of live and self-paced learning. Participants in the online courses take part in virtual classrooms where trainers deliver live stream lessons, lead group activities and host interactive Q&A sessions. To complement the live sessions, participants work on self-paced activities, including reading, pre-recorded screencasts and individual assignments.

Upcoming online training courses in November and December

Certified User Training: a three-week Certified User Training online course will start on Tuesday 10 November 2020 (participants are required to attend live streaming sessions on 10, 17 and 24 November). This course will provide participants with the skills and competences to support and manage an assessment using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) or the Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG). Find out more

G-res Tool training: a one-week G-res Tool Training online course will start on Monday 7 December 2020 (participants are required to attend live streaming sessions on 7, 9 and 11 December). This course will provide participants with the basic knowledge of geographic information systems and reservoir GHG dynamics to assess the GHG emissions of hydropower projects. Find out more

For more information about the upcoming courses visit Register your interest here.

IHA is continously working with leading experts to create more courses, including specific topics from the Hydropower Sustainability Tools. Please sign up to the IHA newsletter by emailing to stay updated.

Visit the training site


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The International Energy Agency’s 2020 World Energy Outlook recognises the critical role of renewable and flexible hydropower in helping countries to meet their climate and sustainable development goals.

The report, published today, explores pathways out of the Covid-19 crisis, which the IEA says has “caused more disruption to the energy sector than any other event in recent history”.

Responding to the report, IHA Head of Policy Alex Campbell commented: “Under all scenarios in this flagship report, hydropower will continue to have an important role as a major source of low-carbon electricity as well as vital flexibility and storage services.

“As the IEA notes, flexibility is rapidly becoming the cornerstone of electricity security. As conventional gas and coal fired power stations are phased out, hydropower’s system services will become even more important to the clean energy transition.

Mr Campbell added: “It is vital that appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks are in place to properly value the essential services that sustainable hydropower provides in respect of energy storage, grid stability and other critical areas. 

“IHA urges governments and regulators across the world to start planning now for the flexible grids of the future that will support the integration of variable renewables with reliable and flexible solutions like hydropower.”

By 2030, the hydropower sector is expected to generate more electricity than coal under the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario, involving a surge in clean energy policies and investment. By 2040, nearly 850 GW of additional hydropower capacity will have been commissioned, mostly in the Asia Pacific region.

Even under the less optimistic Stated Policies Scenario, hydropower is still expected to see modest growth and will remain the largest low emissions source of electricity globally through to 2030.

Changes in the shape and variability of electricity demand and the strong growth of solar PV and wind power are increasing flexibility needs in power systems, the Paris-based agency says. 

“As flexibility needs increase, hydropower will have greater value to systems for its ability to provide a wide set of system services across a wide range of time scales from improving power quality on a moment-to-moment basis to balancing seasonal variability,” the report notes.

Over the next decade, the IEA says investment in low emissions power technologies could average more than $650 billion every year, over 90 per cent of which could go to renewable energy technologies. 

Learn more about IHA’s programmes on clean energy systems and pumped storage hydropower including the EU-funded XFLEX HYDRO initiative which is demonstrating new hydropower flexibility technologies.

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Visit our Covid-19 communications hub.

30 September 2020

Hydropower is the third largest renewables employer, with almost two million people working in the industry, according to the latest jobs report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

A record 11.5 million people were employed by all renewable industries in 2019, of which 1.93 million people were directly employed in hydropower. China, Brazil, the United States and Canada were the top hydropower employers followed by Pakistan, Vietnam, Russia and Myanmar.



Despite its status as the world’s largest source of renewable energy and its “huge untapped potential”, IRENA says hydropower employment in 2019 was around six per cent lower than in 2018, as growth slowed and new projects were delayed in several countries.

As a consequence of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, IRENA projects the employment figure to fall further during 2020 given further delays in construction during national lockdowns.

In response, Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA) said: “This report underlines hydropower’s global significance as a major renewable sector employer as well as the urgent need to invest in new and sustainable hydropower projects.”

“Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, IHA has highlighted the centrality of sustainable hydropower as part of the green recovery. 

“IRENA estimates an additional 850 GW of newly installed hydropower capacity is needed by 2050 to help achieve the carbon reduction commitments of the Paris Agreement. This could generate an additional 600,000 skilled jobs over the next decade.

"To achieve this will require concerted action including improved financial incentives and compensation for the flexibility and resilience services provided by hydropower. The green economic stimulus packages begin announced around the world give us the opportunity to make this goal a reality.”

The jobs report comes days after the second meeting of IRENA’s Collaborative Framework on Hydropower, a forum initiated by the Swiss government and supported by 49 countries on 24 September 2020.

At the meeting, Mr Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General, cited hydropower’s role as a source of power system resilience. “As an enabler for integrating higher shares of renewable energy into power systems, hydropower is set to play an important role in the energy transition and will be critical to the decarbonisation of economies.”

“Promoting the continued deployment of hydropower has been, and remains, an important part of IRENA’s work,” La Camera said.

According to IRENA, hydropower is the cheapest renewable on a Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) basis.

Learn more about hydropower and the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.




Forty-nine countries are participating in a new initiative by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to promote coordinated action, cooperation and dialogue on hydropower’s role in the clean energy transition. 

More than 100 attendees from IRENA’s member countries, applicant countries and observer organisations took part in the second meeting of the Collaborative Framework on Hydropower, a forum initiated by the Swiss government, on 24 September 2020. 

IRENA, which considers hydropower essential to driving the clean energy transition, established the initiative in June in response to member country requests to expand its support to the deployment of hydropower technologies. 

Mr Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA cited hydropower’s role as a source of power system resilience and as a way to expand the adoption of variable renewables, in his remarks to the meeting. 



“As an enabler for integrating higher shares of renewable energy into power systems, hydropower is set to play an important role in the energy transition and will be critical to the decarbonisation of economies. Promoting the continued deployment of hydropower has been, and remains, an important part of IRENA’s work,” Mr La Camera said. 

The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Jean-Christophe Füeg, Head of International Energy Affairs of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. IHA and the World Bank were invited to share their views on the priorities for hydropower and how to bring public, private, intergovernmental and non-governmental actors together to exchange knowledge and identify opportunities and challenges for the sector. 

Addressing the meeting on behalf of IHA’s members, who at 450 GW represent almost a third of worldwide hydropower capacity, Chief Executive Eddie Rich said: “Energy transition targets require annual investments in sustainable hydropower to increase 150 per cent by 2030 - more even than wind and solar.” 

“Governments must redouble their efforts to implement sensible measures to help unlock billions of dollars of investment in sustainable hydropower development.” 

During its kick-off meeting in June, member countries agreed on the scope of the Collaborative Framework, including the need to ensure the continued and sustainable development of hydropower. The meeting recognised hydropower’s relevance as a provider of flexibility and an enabler for the integration of high shares of variable renewables 

In a statement on their website, IRENA noted the September virtual meeting witnessed a “high level of engagement” and that member countries have now agreed on future meetings, enabling the Collaborative Framework on hydropower to take further shape. 

Founded in 2009 as an intergovernmental organisation headquartered in Abu Dhabi, IRENA supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future. It encourages governments to adopt enabling policies for renewable energy investments, provides practical tools and policy advice to accelerate renewable energy deployment, and facilitates knowledge sharing and technology transfer to provide clean, sustainable energy for the world’s growing population. 

IHA continues to actively advocate for sustainable hydropower in IRENA as well as other international platforms and initiatives. 




New September 2021 date announced 

One year from now, in September 2021, we will bring together the world’s leading hydropower change-makers to decide priorities for the sector. 

The World Hydropower Congress is the leading international forum for innovators, experts and policy-makers to shape better energy strategies, influence smarter investment decisions and deliver international good practice.  

In 2021, the Congress will be a hybrid event hosted throughout the month, under the theme ‘Renewables working together’. 

For the first time in the event’s history, delegates from around the world will participate in online sessions across multiple timezones, culminating in an in-person summit in Costa Rica on 23-24 September. 

With a focus on green stimulus packages, the 2021 Congress presents an unprecedented opportunity to discuss how sustainable hydropower can contribute to building back better to deliver on energy, water and climate targets. 

The event will bring together senior representatives from governments, international organisations, financial institutions, research, non-governmental organisations and business to accelerate the pathway to a zero-carbon future. 

The 2021 World Hydropower Congress is organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and hosted by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica’s electricity services provider, and the Government of Costa Rica.  

Join us for high-level plenary sessions, focus sessions and workshops on: 

  • Advancing clean energy 
  • Tackling climate change  
  • Achieving sustainability 
  • Incentivising investments  
  • Integrating smarter tech 
  • Managing water 

Register your interest in attending or partnering