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The 2019 IHA Blue Planet Prize, which recognises excellence in sustainable hydropower development, has been awarded to the Reventazón Hydropower Plant in Costa Rica.

Reventazón is the largest hydropower project in Central America with 305.5 megawatts of installed capacity. Since it came into operation in 2016, the project has led Costa Rica to achieve a target of generating 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. 

IHA President Ken Adams presents IHA Blue Planet Prize to Irene Cañas Díaz, President of ICE

The IHA Blue Planet Prize is given to a hydropower project which demonstrates excellence across a range of social, environmental, technical and economic performance criteria. A judging panel awards the prize on the basis of an independent project assessment made using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, an internationally recognised performance measurement tool.

The prize announcement was made at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris at an awards ceremony held on 15 May 2019. The recipient is the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica’s national electricity company, which built, owns and operates Reventazón.

The project achieved proven best practice for its management of communications and consultation, resettlement, public health, biodiversity and invasive species, and waste, noise and air quality, according to an assessment using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), said: “The winner of the 2019 IHA Blue Planet Prize, Reventazón, demonstrated remarkable sustainability performance across a range of performance criteria, meeting or exceeding international good practice in all 19 assessment topics. The hydropower project is a worthy recipient of the IHA Blue Planet Prize and is an example of many stakeholders working together to achieve a common goal.”

The hydropower plant is located on the Reventazón river in Limón province, 50 kilometres upstream of the Caribbean Sea. It was constructed between 2010 and 2016 and financed from a range of national and international organisations, including the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group. 

On receiving the award, Irene Cañas Díaz, President of ICE, stated: “We are grateful to the International Hydropower Association in awarding the IHA Blue Planet Prize to the Reventazón project. This proves what 70 years of acquired expertise by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad can do, developing sustainable hydropower projects that comply with the best practices in the world”.

IHA Blue Planet Prize - Irene Cañas Díaz, President, ICE

 

The judges commended the project team for identifying opportunities to improve social and environmental management, developing educational processes for associated stakeholders, and implementing measures to compensate and mitigate impacts on aquatic habitats and endangered species. 

Reventazón is one of the first hydroelectric projects in Latin America to use a river offset approach, in order to develop hydropower potential while avoiding development in other free-flowing rivers. It shows how hydropower projects can make a significant contribution to biodiversity conservation at regional and basin levels.

The assessment was conducted by a team of independent accredited assessors using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, with financial and technical support from the World Bank Group. This involved 90 interviews with relevant stakeholders and a review of over 470 related project documents.

Ruth Tiffer Sotomayor, Senior Environmental Specialist at the World Bank, who led the team that applied the assessment protocol in Reventazón commented: “We are happy to have supported Costa Rica in the first application of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol in the Central America region.  We hope this award can motivate other countries and companies across regions to follow the best international practices that the protocol recognises for reducing impacts on people and the environment.

“This is an important award for ICE, its staff and Costa Rica, and an excellent example from the public sector of a small Latin American country to the world that we can do better hydropower, which is more inclusive and environmentally sensitive,” she added.

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol was developed through 30 months of cross-sector engagement between 2007 and 2010, and is aligned with World Bank Safeguard Policies and the IFC Performance Standards. 

More information about Reventazón and its assessment is available on www.hydrosustainability.org.

About IHA

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.

IHA is a champion of good practices and continuous improvement in the hydropower community. We support project assessments, and training for independent assessors as the management body for the Hydropower Sustainability Tools, comprising:
•    The Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice
•    The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol
•    The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool

Learn more: www.hydropower.org 

IHA Blue Planet Prize

For a hydropower project to be considered for the IHA Blue Planet Prize, it must have undergone an official assessment under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. Applications are judged by a panel composed of experts selected by the IHA Board. The prize was awarded to seven projects between 2001 and 2017:

  • Blanda hydropower project, Iceland (2017)
  • Andhikhola hydel and rural electrification scheme, Nepal (2005)
  • Arrow Lakes power plant, Canada (2005)
  • Sechelt Creek power plant, Canada (2005)
  • Salto Caxias project, Brazil (2003)
  • Palmiet pumped storage scheme, South Africa (2003)
  • King River hydropower development, Tasmania, Australia (2001)

Media Contact

Will Henley
Head of Communications
International Hydropower Association
t:  +44 7507 661 755
e:  will.henley@hydropower.org

15 May 2019

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has today launched technical guidance to help the hydropower industry to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide will support investors, owners and developers to make informed decisions about how to plan, build, upgrade and operate hydropower systems in the face of increasingly variable climatic and hydrological conditions.

Launched at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris on 15 May 2019, the guide introduces an innovative methodology for assessing climate risks and identifying corresponding climate resilience measures.

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Departing from traditional approaches that rely on historical information about past climatic and hydrological conditions, the guide provides a practical framework for assessing the projected impacts of climate change on hydropower systems. This includes guidance for selecting appropriate measures and operational procedures that build climate resilience across a range of scenarios, and for the development of a climate risk management plan.

Announcing the new guide, IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor said: “The hydropower sector is part of the solution to climate change, providing clean, renewable electricity and vital freshwater management to help communities manage the impacts of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.

“While providing essential adaptation services, hydropower facilities are not immune to the changing climate. This guide offers new international good practice guidance to help project operators and developers identify, assess and manage climate risks to enhance the resilience of proposed and existing hydropower projects.”

The guide was developed by IHA with technical and financial support provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank Group (WBG) and its Korea Green Growth Trust Fund (KGGTF).

It is intended for hydropower projects of all types, scales and geographies, and suitable for upgrade and greenfield projects. The six-phase methodology looks at climate risk screening, data analysis, climate stress testing, climate risk management, and monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

“Greater investment in hydropower is needed as part of the transition towards low-carbon and climate-resilient energy systems” said Craig Davies, Head of Climate Resilience Investments at the EBRD. “This guide will play an important role in helping financial institutions to scale up both the quantity and the quality of their investment in climate-resilient hydropower.”

“The World Bank Group welcomes the international hydropower industry’s Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide,” said Pravin Karki, Global Lead Hydropower and Dams at WBG. “Climate risks, if not adequately addressed in planning and operations, could drastically undermine hydropower investments. There is an urgent need to actively prepare for the resiliency of hydropower assets in the face of increased frequency of extreme weather events and rapid changes in hydrological patterns to reduce the risk of climate-related disruptions.”

“The World Bank Group works to ensure that its hydropower and other energy investments are adapted to climate change, and create financial mechanisms to encourage upfront investments in resilient hydropower infrastructure,” he continued.

To download the Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide, visit: hydropower.org/climateresilienceguide

 

Notes for Editors:

The IHA Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide was developed over a three-year period in consultation with major hydropower developers, owners and operators, intergovernmental and not-for-profit organisations, international consultancies and independent experts.

Throughout 2018 and early 2019, several hydropower projects tested the draft guide and provided feedback on its applicability. Projects involved in the testing were: Drin River Hydropower Cascade, Albania; Jirau Hydropower Plant, Brazil; Kabeli A Hydroelectric Project, Nepal; Mpatamanga Hydropower Project, Malawi; Nenskra Hydropower Project, Georgia; Romaine Hydropower Complex, Canada; and Qairokkum Hydropower Plant, Tajikistan.

Learn more about the International Hydropower Association's climate resilience knowledge building programme.

For further information, please contact María Ubierna, IHA Hydropower Specialist and Knowledge Building Team Focal Point (mu@hydropower.org)

 

About IHA

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.

The World Hydropower Congress, 14-16 May 2019, has brought together representatives of industry, government, finance, civil society and academia from more than 70 countries to set priorities for the hydropower sector. Under the theme ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’, the congress explores hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. For highlights from the first two days of the congress, visit: www.hydropower.org/congress

 

Media Contact

Will Henley
Head of Communications
International Hydropower Association
t:  +44 7507 661 755
e:  will.henley@hydropower.org

The 2019 World Hydropower Congress opened in Paris on Tuesday with delegates sharing perspectives on the role of hydropower in helping countries achieve national priorities and bringing social, economic and environmental benefits to communities.

In his speech at the opening plenary, IHA President Ken Adams welcomed the 750 participants and partners from more than 70 countries that are taking part in this year’s event, which is organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

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“Joining us in Paris at this seventh World Hydropower Congress are more than 50 partners from all parts of the world representing civil society organisations, international organisations, science, finance, business, academia and government,” said Mr Adams.

The theme of the 2019 congress is ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’ which focuses on hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr Adams stressed the importance of collaboration between the hydropower sector and wider communities and highlighted IHA’s work to champion sustainable practices. “The spirit of IHA has always been to engage in dialogue with stakeholders from different countries, sectors and backgrounds. We believe that stronger outcomes are ensured when objectives are shared and dialogue is open.

“The largest community which we are all a part of is the human community, living on a planet facing unprecedented stress and having to build consensus and achieve action to build a more sustainable future. We support the Sustainable Development Goals and believe the targets set by the Paris Agreement require us all to work harder to ensure that renewable energy can be provided to all in a sustainable way,” he said.

Maria Donoso, Director of Water Sciences at UNESCO, said her organisation was proud to be associated with the World Hydropower Congress as one of the co-convenors.

“This an opportunity to showcase the critical contribution of hydropower in addressing sustainable development challenges,” she said. “To reach Article 2 of the Paris Agreement there is a need to reduce emissions, notably by limiting the production of energy from coal sources and by embracing renewable sources of energy such as hydropower.

“Hydropower infrastructure also has a key role to play in adaptation. It provides water services, including water supply, irrigation, navigation, flood control, drought mitigation, and energy security, and facilitates regional cooperation,” she said.

Riccardo Puliti, the World Bank Group’s Head of Energy and Extractive Resources Global Practice, said his organisation backs the sustainable development of hydropower. “We are supportive for three main reasons: we believe that hydropower is key to reaching the Paris Agreement, we view hydropower as essential for increasing the integration of renewable energy into the world’s power systems, and we support hydropower’s role in improving regional integrated water resource management.”

Despite its promise, globally, investment in the renewable sector has slowed, warned Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA plans to dedicate its next renewable energy report to hydropower, he said.

“Hydropower - why are we so keen? Because of its potential, especially in Africa,” said Dr Birol. “Today in Sub-Saharan Africa two out of three people have no access to electricity. Morally, it is a shame for all of us.

“We think hydropower can provide a lot of benefits to our societies, ranging from electricity access in emerging economies, reduction of CO2 emissions, reduction of air pollution, and we can nicely integrate it with solar and wind,” he added.

The opening session of the World Hydropower Congress on 14 May 2019 also saw speeches from representatives of business and non-profit organisations, and ministers and senior officials from Guatemala, India, Nepal, Norway, Sarawak (Malaysia) and the United States.

The importance of ensuring that energy and economic development goals are balanced with social and environmental priorities, including protecting biodiversity, was a message which echoed through the interventions.

Jean-Bernard Levy, CEO of EDF, said his organisation had adopted six Corporate Social Responsibility Goals which echo the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including a goal for the company to have a positive effect on biodiversity.

Mr Levy noted the flexibility and storage capabilities of renewable, rechargeable hydropower. “Hydropower is today the most efficient technology to store significant energy quantities, especially pumped storage plants (PSP). This is why PSPs are a key part of our so-called EDF Storage Plan which aims at developing 10 GW of energy storage capacity worldwide by 2035, among which 2 GW will be fulfilled by PSPs,” he said.

Earlier this year the Indian government approved measures to promote hydropower development including declaring large hydro projects as renewable. Joint Secretary of Power Shri Aniruddha Kumar told delegates that “hydropower undoubtedly has a major role to play” in achieving renewable targets, as he restated his government’s commitment to a rigorous approvals process for new projects.

“We do not want to push development at the cost of the environment or the people. Projects are only going to be approved for construction after rigorous environmental impact studies and implementation of detailed environment management plans,” he said.

Elliot Harris, Assistant Secretary General for UNDESA, said: “The potential of hydropower in its contribution to both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development is huge, however the development of hydropower does not come without potential environmental and social costs. So it is critical that hydropower developments take measures to maximise benefits and compensate for any costs.”

Mr Harris pointed to the example of Itaipu Binacional, which operates the Itaipu power plant, as an example of good practice in this endeavour. “The experience of Itaipu Binacional shows how it is possible to promote the conservation of biodiversity and local cultures while at the same time harnessing the power of hydropower resources for energy, economic development and climate action.”

The opening plenary concluded with an intervention from renewable energy cultural ambassador and former Eurovision singer Ruslana who spoke about her efforts to widen public awareness of the goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity generation.

The World Hydropower Congress continues on Wednesday 15 May and Thursday 16 May with more than 200 speakers addressing 40 focused sessions and workshops on topics such as sustainability, climate resilience, data solutions, working with indigenous communities, and supporting growth in other renewables.

View and download photos from our Flickr website: www.flickr.com/photos/hydropower

Find out more online: www.hydropower.org/congress

13 May 2019

More than 21.8 gigawatts (GW) of renewable hydroelectric capacity was put into operation last year, according to the 2019 Hydropower Status Report which is published today on the eve of the World Hydropower Congress in Paris.

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Government ministers from Canada, Indonesia, Nepal, Uganda and Uruguay contribute policy interventions to the sixth edition of the Hydropower Status Report, each emphasising the need for investment in renewable energy, and especially hydropower, to help countries achieve sustainable development.

Electricity generation from hydropower projects achieved a record estimated 4,200 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2018, the highest ever contribution from a renewable energy source, as worldwide installed hydropower capacity climbed to 1,292 GW.

China added the most capacity with the installation of 8,540 megawatts, followed by Brazil (3,866 MW), Pakistan (2,487 MW), Turkey (1,085 MW), Angola (668 MW), Tajikistan (605 MW), Ecuador (556 MW), India (535 MW), Norway (419 MW) and Canada (401 MW).

Brazil has now become the second largest producer of hydroelectricity by installed capacity, reaching 104.1 GW in 2018, surpassing the United States at 102.7 GW. The world's largest hydropower producer is China with 352.3 GW of installed capacity.

The Hydropower Status Report, published by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), is an authoritative guide to key trends in hydropower development. Compiled by IHA’s team of analysts, the report presents latest capacity and generation data from more than 200 countries and territories.

The report also features policy insights from leading government ministers responsible for hydropower development:

  • Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Amarjeet Sohi, writes about industry efforts to build partnerships with indigenous communities and create long-term economic opportunities.
  • Indonesia’s Minister of National Development Planning, Bambang P. Soemantri Brodjonegoro, explains how his country is committed to reducing GHG emissions by 29 per cent by 2030 through developing hydropower and other renewables.
  • Nepal’s Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Barsha Man Pun, writes that his government is aiming to attract foreign investment in hydropower while exploring regional energy interconnections.
  • Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, Irene Nafuna Muloni, emphasises the need to raise investment capital for hydropower development as a way to widen electricity access and support socio-economic transformation.
  • Uruguay’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, Guillermo Moncecchi, reports on the strong complementarity between hydropower and other variable renewable energy sources.

The 2019 edition of the Hydropower Status Report presents research into the multiple services provided by hydropower, the importance of building resilience to climate change, and the role of digitalisation and regional interconnections in bringing efficiencies to clean energy generation.

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With pumped hydropower storage capacity reaching 160.3 GW in 2018 (up 1.9 GW on 2017), the report also calls for the market framework and regulatory treatment of this clean ‘water battery’ technology to be reformed, especially in liberalised markets.

In total, at least 48 countries worldwide added hydropower capacity in 2018. The report shows that East Asia and the Pacific once again added the most capacity, with 9.2 GW installed last year. This was followed by South America (4.9 GW), South and Central Asia (4.0 GW), Europe (2.2 GW), Africa (1.0 GW) and North and Central America (0.6 GW).

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“Four years on since the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed at the United Nations in 2015, governments increasingly recognise hydropower as playing a vital role in national strategies for delivering affordable and clean electricity, managing freshwater, combatting climate change and improving livelihoods,” write IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor and IHA President Ken Adams in the foreword to the report.

The Hydropower Status Report is released ahead of the World Hydropower Congress in Paris, 14-16 May 2019, which draws more than 700 delegates from over 70 countries to the French capital. The high-level event is organised by IHA in collaboration with more than 40 partner organisations.

The event will bring together a broad spectrum of delegates interested in hydropower development, including leaders from business, government, civil society, social and environmental NGOs, local communities, the United Nations, financial institutions and academia.

Download the 2019 Hydropower Status Report: www.hydropower.org/status2019

Learn more about the World Hydropower Congress: www.hydropower.org/congress

Climate and sustainable development top the agenda as high-level speakers are announced

8 May 2019 

The 2019 World Hydropower Congress opens in Paris next week, drawing more than 700 delegates from over 70 countries to the French capital.

The high-level event is organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) in collaboration with more than 40 partner organisations, with support from the Government of France and President Emmanuel Macron.

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Between 14-16 May 2019 the event will bring together a broad spectrum of stakeholders interested in hydropower development, including leaders from business, government, civil society, social and environmental NGOs, local communities, the United Nations, financial institutions and academia.

Announcing the line-up of speakers for the opening session, IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor said this year’s congress is themed around hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The congress provides a platform for sharing experiences and showcasing examples of best practice, while also guiding policies and strategies to strengthen the sector’s performance.

Mr Taylor said: “Four years ago, this city hosted the United Nations Climate Conference (COP21) at which the historic Paris Agreement was forged by world leaders to limit global emissions. This year, the hydropower community takes the opportunity to further its contribution to this agreement.

“The event will be an opportunity to discuss the hydropower sector’s vital role in meeting global carbon reduction targets, building a clean energy future and ensuring responsible freshwater management.”

More than 200 speakers will address 40 focused sessions and workshops on topics such as sustainability, climate resilience, innovative data solutions and hydropower working with other renewables.

The line-up of speakers that will address the opening plenary session on 14 May include:

International organisations

  • Ken Adams – President, International Hydropower Association
  • Elliot Harris – Assistant Secretary General, UNDESA
  • Fatih Birol – Executive Director, International Energy Agency
  • Riccardo Puliti – Head of the Energy and Extractive Resources Global Practice, World Bank Group
  • Giulio Boccaletti – Chief Strategy Officer, The Nature Conservancy
  • HE Amani Abou-Zeid – Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission

Business

  • Jean-Bernard Lévy – CEO, EDF Group
  • José Alberto Alderete – Director General (Paraguay), Itaipu Binacional
  • Irene Cañas Díaz – CEO, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
  • Jorge Londoño De La Cuesta – CEO, EPM
  • Pascal Radue – President and CEO, Hydro Solutions, GE Renewable Energy
  • Lin Chuxue – Executive Vice-President, China Three Gorges

Governments

  • Hon. Luis Chang – Minister of Energy & Mines, Guatemala
  • Hon. Barsha Man Pun – Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Nepal
  • Y.B. Dato Sri Dr. Stephen Rundi Utom – Minister of Utilities (Sarawak), Malaysia
  • Shri Aniruddha Kumar – Joint Secretary of Power, India
  • Daniel Simmons – Assistant Secretary, Department of Energy, USA
  • Øivind Johansen – Director, Ministry of Energy, Norway

Renewable energy

  • Rana Adib – Executive Secretary, REN21
  • Stefan Gsaenger – Secretary General, WWEA
  • Ruslana Lyzhychko – ReNewDay Ambassador

The World Hydropower Congress is sponsored by strategic partners CTG, EDF, GE, Itaipu Binacional, The Nature Conservancy and Sarawak Energy, and supporting partners Alpiq, CSHE, EDP, Voith and Statkraft.

View the programme of 37 sessions and see an A-Z of the speakers online: www.hydropower.org/congress 

Recognising that business, finance, government and civil society must be more creative, more effective and work more closely together to deliver on the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, the organisers are encouraging all delegates and stakeholders to submit their priorities for the hydropower sector via the website: congress.hydropower.org/priorities

Quotes from participants:

"This congress in Paris is a fantastic opportunity to meet all the major international hydro players gathered to talk about the role of hydropower in the energy transition and in the preservation of water resources. I wish all participants a very successful congress.” - Jean Levy, CEO, EDF

“The Nature Conservancy participates in the World Hydropower Congress because it is an agenda-setting event, convening the decision-makers and facilitating the discussions critical to the successful energy transition that we are working towards.” – Giulio Boccaletti, Chief Strategy Officer, The Nature Conservancy

“The World Hydropower Congress brings together a unique network of hydropower operators from all over the globe. This creates an unparalleled opportunity to bring together leading hydropower practitioners, and to address emerging challenges and opportunities across the hydropower industry – including those driven by climate change.” - Craig Davies, Head of Climate Resilience Investments, EBRD

“The 2019 World Hydropower Congress is a valuable opportunity to share experiences and promote the benefits of interconnections in developing regions of the world.” - Leslie Chai, General Manager of System Planning, Sarawak Energy

“Hydropower will continue to be an essential part of the energy matrix of the future. I am looking forward to hearing lessons about digitalisation, benefit sharing, safety, and other aspects that will make projects more attractive and sustainable in the long run.” - Luiz Gabriel Azevedo, Division Chief, Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Division, IDB Invest

Learn more about the event and read more quotes from participants: congress.hydropower.org/2019-paris

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