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10 March 2020

The World Bank has published a handbook and series of case studies on hydropower operations and maintenance (O&M) to help enhance the efficiency and reliability of the worldwide hydropower fleet.

The development of the handbook and case studies was supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and its member organisations, providing real-life examples of O&M strategies in practice.

María Ubierna, IHA’s Hydropower Specialist and Research and Policy Team Focal Point, welcomed the World Bank publication and said the association was delighted to contribute. “Global decarbonisation efforts rely on the hydropower fleet continuing to provide vital generation, flexibility and storage services to electricity systems,” she said.

“Access to this essential handbook and case studies will help owners and operators to optimise and maintain their facilities to fully realise the benefits of hydropower to the grid.”


The publication is intended to be used by asset owners, facility and utility managers, decision-makers in government, utility operators, private developers, independent power producers and financial institutions, including development banks.

Its recommendations aim to help optimise hydropower station performance while also safeguarding the natural environment and local communities. It defines basic principles and provides examples of the consequences of inadequate O&M policies, programmes and procedures.

The case studies from public utilities and private companies in Brazil, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Uruguay are structured around the strategies described in the handbook.

Pierre Lorillou, Senior Hydropower Specialist at the World Bank, said: “A lack of O&M strategies and resources often results in frequent and severe outages, which can result in high costs, losses of valuable electricity, and sometimes a threat to the sustainability of hydropower facilities. We hope that this handbook will support preparing such strategies and mobilise resources where deemed necessary.”

The handbook was developed following the World Hydropower Congress in Ethiopia in May 2017, when delegates agreed on the need for a tool to support the preparation of O&M strategies for countries with limited capacity and a challenging business environment.

The six case studies are:

  • Statkraft Energias Renovaveis, Brazil
  • Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant, Liberia
  • Kainji-Jebba Hydropower Complex, Nigeria
  • New Bong Escape Hydropower Project, Pakistan
  • Nalubaale-Kiira Hydropower Complex, Uganda
  • Salto Grande Hydropower Complex, Uruguay/Argentina

Download the Operation and Maintenance Strategies for Hydropower: Handbook for Practitioners and Decision Makers 

Download the Case Studies


The International Hydropower Association is pleased to announce that the Small Hydropower Plants Association of Kyrgyzstan has joined as an affiliate member.


Pictured: Elvira Borombaeva 

The Kyrgyz association is a non-profit organisation established in 2015 to support the development of hydropower in the Central Asian country.

Elvira Borombaeva, President of the Small Hydropower Plants Association, said: “Kyrgyzstan is the clean energy hub of Central Asia, and hydroelectric plants occupy a central place in our national energy system, generating more than 90 per cent of the country’s electricity. I am sure our IHA membership will support the development of the country’s hydropower potential, of which only 10 per cent has been developed to-date.”

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA, said he was delighted to welcome the association as an affiliate member. “By joining IHA, the Small Hydropower Plants Association of Kyrgyzstan will expand opportunities for its members and stakeholders to exchange knowledge and adopt international good practices.”

Hydropower is seen as playing a major role in Central Asia’s growth strategy between 2020 to 2030. In Kyrgyzstan, the sector is expected to benefit from the CASA-1000 regional interconnection project which, once complete, will help to alleviate electricity shortages and export surplus electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Recent IHA engagement in Central Asia has included an in-depth study of the region’s modernisation needs in partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). IHA has also represented the hydropower sector at events such as Energy Week Uzbekistan 2019.

In February this year, IHA launched a USD 1 million Hydropower Sustainability ESG Assessment Fund with support from the government of Switzerland. The first tranche of funding is available for projects in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan among other countries.

IHA membership is open to organisations and professionals with an interest in sustainable hydropower. Members gain access to an extensive network of the world’s most reputable hydropower sector organisations, active in more than 100 countries.

Through IHA’s online community and mobile app Hydropower Pro, members can connect, access specialist resources and join networks such its South and Central Asia region group.

Learn more about IHA membership:

About IHA

With members and partners active in more than 100 countries, the International Hydropower Association (IHA) is the voice of sustainable hydropower internationally.  IHA provides an open and innovative platform to share knowledge on hydropower’s role relating to energy, water and climate. By working with stakeholders around the world, IHA advances strategies to strengthen the sector’s performance.

First call for proposals announced with April 2020 application deadline

19 February 2020 – A new sustainability fund launched today will aid hydropower project developers and operators in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas to benchmark and raise their social and environmental performance.

The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Assessment Fund will award a total of 1 million Swiss Francs (USD 1.02m) to 40 or more hydropower projects between 2020 and 2024. The initiative is managed by the International Hydropower Association’s sustainability division and funded by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Successful recipients will receive a grant to part-finance the cost of commissioning an independent project assessment using the Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG), a tool based on the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol and governed by a multi-stakeholder coalition of NGOs, governments, banks and multilateral institutions.



The tool enables project proponents and operators to demonstrate that they are meeting international good practice standards across 12 assessment areas including biodiversity, water quality, climate mitigation and resilience, infrastructure safety, labour conditions, indigenous peoples, resettlement, communications and consultation.

The grant will co-finance independent assessors, who are accredited by IHA and a governance council, to carry out an assessment using the HESG gap analysis tool. This involves a site visit and interviews with stakeholders, and produces a concluding report and gap management plan.

Projects under preparation and development, as well as those already in operation, are all eligible for the grant. Applicants will need to demonstrate a strong track record or commitment to sustainability and show that their project aligns with national or regional development policies.

Joao Costa, Senior Sustainability Specialist at IHA, said: “This initiative will encourage renewable energy proponents to draw upon international good practice when planning and implementing hydropower projects. Commissioning a HESG assessment helps to guide developers and operators to address any gaps in environmental and social performance. Going through this process will ultimately demonstrate a project’s sustainability and help unlock green finance.”

Daniel Menebhi, SECO Program Manager, said: “Recognising the important role sustainable hydropower has to play in addressing climate change and enabling economic development, Switzerland supports the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol and its derivatives, including the HESG gap analysis tool which is the subject of this call.

“Switzerland now funds an extensive capacity development programme in selected countries for Swiss economic development cooperation and we are pleased to co-finance HESG assessments for at least 40 promising hydropower projects over the next four years.”

The first tranche of funding of CHF 250,000 in 2020 will be made available for eligible projects in the following countries: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, North Macedonia, Peru, Serbia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Project proposals will be accepted up until 19 April 2020.

IHA is the management body for the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, which develops and governs the Hydropower Sustainability Tools, including a set of good practice guidelines, an assessment protocol and a gap analysis tool. The council includes representatives of social, community and environmental organisations, governments, commercial and development banks and the hydropower sector. IHA is responsible for overseeing tools training and accreditation.

Learn about the Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool and how to apply to the fund:

Find out more:





6 February 2020, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire - Senior African government representatives and leaders from the energy sector, financial institutions and civil society gathered in Abidjan today to chart a course for the sustainable development of the continent’s hydropower resources.

Read the meeting's outcomes in English and French.


Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Africa High-level Roundtable on Sustainable Hydropower Development looked at strategies for ensuring projects are developed in accordance with international good practice, while overcoming challenges to development and access to finance.

With close to 600 million Africans lacking access to electricity, speakers including Hon Fortune Chasi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Energy, and Sabati Cissé, Côte d’Ivoire’s Director-General for Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies, emphasised the social-economic and power system benefits of investing in hydroelectricity.

Africa’s existing hydropower plants deliver 36 gigawatts (GW) of installed generation capacity, but this represents only about 11 per cent of the region’s technical potential, according to IHA (Hydropower Status Report 2019).

“As a renewable energy source offering design options from run-of-river plants to pumped storage plants, hydropower in its different forms adds significant value to power systems and the reliability of energy supply,” said Wale Shonibare, the African Development Bank’s Acting Vice President for Power Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth.

Mr Shonibare said the AfDB is committed to supporting new hydropower projects through its New Deal on Energy for Africa and has already invested close to USD 1 billion for 1.4 GW of expected installed capacity over the past ten years.

“As the Bank’s emphasis on renewable energy sources is growing, so does its interest in hydropower. In order to achieve universal access to energy, it is not enough to bring online the amount of generation capacity required to cover energy demand, it is also essential to do this in a sustainable way that assures power system reliability,” he said.



(Pictured: Sabati Cisse, Director General of Energy, Ivory Coast and Hon. Fortune Chasi, Minister of Energy, Zimbabwe)

In his intervention, Minister Chasi noted that Zimbabwe, where more than half of the population does not have electricity access, needs international investment and technical assistance to develop renewable energy sources including hydropower. “We consider hydropower to be essential and critical for our generation of power,” he said.

Mr Cissé noted that Africa’s hydropower plants, through increasing electricity access, contribute significantly to poverty reduction and economic growth. “Africa has enormous hydropower potential, which we will need if we want to achieve national policy priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA, said it was important to create an enabling policy and regulatory environment to incentivise new projects, while ensuring that both greenfield and rehabilitation projects are built and operated in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines and assessment tools.

“The Hydropower Sustainability Tools, governed by a multi-stakeholder coalition of social and environmental NGOs, governments, banks and industry, must be embedded in decision-making on project selection, planning, financing, development and operation. These tools define good and best practice and help to assess whether a hydropower project is truly sustainable across objective social, environmental and governance performance measures,” he said.

The Africa High-level Roundtable on Sustainable Hydropower Development was organised with support from AFD, the French development agency.

View the list of speakers

Read the outcomes of the Roundtable

About the African Development Bank

The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

About IHA

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit organisation working with a network of members and partners to advance sustainable hydropower. Its mission is to build and share knowledge on hydropower’s role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. IHA is also the management body for the Hydropower Sustainability Tools and provides training and accreditation for independent project assessors.

11 December 2019

Costa Rica has been announced as the destination of the next World Hydropower Congress.

The World Hydropower Congress is the leading global event in sustainable hydropower development bringing together decision-makers, experts and innovators to set priorities for the sector.

The congress will be held in San José, Costa Rica, under the theme ‘Renewables working together in an interconnected world’ under the patronage of the President of Costa Rica.

The announcement was made today by Costa Rican Minister of Environment and Energy, Hon. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, at a launch event at the UN climate conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain.

Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and supported by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the government run electricity services provider, the congress is a high-level, biennial meeting of governments, international organisations, financial institutions, research, non-governmental organisations, and industry.

Hon. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez said his government was delighted to bring the World Hydropower Congress to Costa Rica, a country which is powered by almost 100% renewable energy including around 80 per cent from hydroelectric generation.

“Costa Rica is a global leader in renewable electricity. Using hydro, wind, solar, geo and bio energy resources, Costa Rica has built a system that provides renewable electricity while ensuring social and human rights. These technologies will play a key role in the next phase of climate commitments under the UN Climate Convention. We are happy to share our experience with the region and the world, as we move away from fossil fuels and toward a net zero world by 2050,” the Minister said.

First held in Turkey in 2007, the World Hydropower Congress draws over 700 participants from more than 70 countries to agree priorities in delivering sustainable energy and water systems in the context of climate change. It represents a unique opportunity to share knowledge and insights on hydropower at the highest level.

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA, said: “With its strong commitment to hydropower and sustainable development, it’s hard to think of a better host for the 2021 World Hydropower Congress than Costa Rica. It seems fitting that they host the event that will put the focus on hydropower’s role in delivering a 100% renewable energy future in concert with other renewables.”

The last World Hydropower Congress was held in Paris, France, in May 2019, under the high patronage of President Emmanuel Macron. Delegates from 77 countries participated and the programme was organised in collaboration with some 50 partner organisations. The Report on the World Hydropower Congress is now available to download online.

Brigitte Collet, Ambassador for Climate for the Government of France, praised the commitment of Costa Rica to decarbonisation, as she formally handed over the mandate to host the World Hydropower Congress. “Costa Rica’s energy mix is truly remarkable. It is a real pleasure to hand over to your country. We believe the presidency of the World Hydropower Congress is in the best possible hands.”

Antoine Badinier from French hydropower operator EDF said his company was proud to have supported this year’s event in Paris. “The World Hydropower Congress that took place in May 2019 was a successful event for the global hydropower sector and a very special moment for EDF. On behalf of the company, I am glad to take part in this handing over ceremony to Costa Rica, and I look forward to participating in the 2021 World Hydropower Congress.”

Update July 2020: The World Hydropower Congress was originally scheduled for May 2021 but was rescheduled to September 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19


(Brigette Collet Ambassador for Climate Government of France and Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Minister of Environment and Energy Costa Rica)

The World Hydropower Congress programme includes three main components: a core set of plenary sessions, deep-dive (parallel) sessions, networking and bilateral meetings. Key themes are:

  • energy (innovation, storage and interconnections)
  • water (multipurpose use and transboundary initiatives)
  • climate (mitigation, resilience and adaptation)
  • sustainability (tools, sector performance and standards)
  • finance and investment (project funding and risk management)

Further information about the World Hydropower Congress and how to get involved is available at

About IHA

With members and partners active in more than 100 countries, the International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit network of people and organisations working to advance sustainable hydropower.

Among its objectives, IHA seeks to create an open and innovative platform to share knowledge on hydropower’s role relating to energy, water and climate. By working with stakeholders around the world, IHA also advances strategies to strengthen the sector’s performance. For example, through the co-development of the Hydropower Sustainability Tools, which help to guide the sector and inform decision making.


World Hydropower Congress Secretariat
International Hydropower Association

Media contact:

Will Henley
Head of Communications