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The inaugural Sustainability & Renewable Energy Forum (SAREF) 2019 will be held in Sarawak, Malaysia from 10-11 December 2019. 

SAREF, organised by Sarawak Energy in partnership with the Sarawak Ministry of Utilities, is a thought leadership campaign focusing on sustainability and the role of renewable energy in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Each subsequent conference will provide a platform for energy thought leaders to discuss sustainability and renewable energy topics in line with the SDG 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy.

The forum will bring together international organisations, experts from the energy sector, representatives from government, research communities, private sector and policy and decision makers.

International Hydropower Association’s Chief Executive, Eddie Rich will speak on how hydropower can drive and stabilise a wider renewable energy mix and broader sustainable development. “SAREF is a key opportunity for the energy community to come together to address the challenges of both ensuring sufficient energy and ensuring that it is affordable, sustainable and clean” he says. 

The forum will open with a speech by the honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, followed by a special address by Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.

Other prominent speakers will include the honourable Dato Sri Dr. Stephen Rundi Anak Utom, Minister of Utilities, Sarawak, Sharbini Suhaili, Chief Executive of Sarawak Energy, and Tammy Chu, Managing Director, Entura among several others.

The conference will be held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, Sarawak. To register, please visit


18 September 2019

IHA's leadership team took its place this week, with newly elected President Roger Gill joining Chief Executive Eddie Rich. 

Mr Rich, who took over from Richard Taylor on 9 September, presented to IHA's new Board the organisation’s strategy for the next two years. This will see IHA focus on research and policy, sustainability and sharing knowledge on the role of hydropower in the clean energy transition.


IHA Chief Executive Eddie Rich (left) with newly elected IHA President Roger Gill (right)

Mr Rich said: “With the demand for energy expected to double from 2015 to 2060, the world must look towards a sustainable, renewable mix of energy sources. IHA’s role is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions.

During the Board meeting at Brookfield Renewable's office in London, the Board unanimously elected Roger Gill, an international consultant with over 40 years in the renewable energy sector, as President. He takes over from Ken Adams.

“IHA has steadily grown to become a platform of knowledge, with members operating in over 100 countries around the world. Our challenge is now to reach beyond the sector to help all stakeholders understand how hydropower can support the renewable energy systems of the twenty-first century,” Mr Gill said.

A long standing Board member and Vice President of IHA, Mr Gill is a company director for Pacific Hydro, a renewable energy development company owned by State Power Investment Corporation of China (SPIC).

Both Mr Gill and Mr Rich paid tribute to their predecessors. “I owe an enormous debt to Richard Taylor, the CEO of IHA who founded the organisation in 1995,” said Mr Rich. “He has brought us so far with unparalleled passion, knowledge and skill. I look forward to working with him to ensure a strong and smooth transition.”

“In addition, over the past six years Ken Adams has steadied the ship and provided a clear vision. We will miss his wisdom, experience and passion for the organisation and subject.”

Six IHA Vice Presidents were also elected by the Board:

  • Tammy Chu, Managing Director, Entura, Hydro Tasmania 

  • Colin Clark, Chief Technical Officer, Brookfield Renewable

  • Gil  Maranhão Neto, Chief Strategy, Communications and CSR Officer, ENGIE Brasil

  • Óli Sveinsson, Executive Vice President Research and Development, Landsvirkjun

  • Christine Cantin, Senior Advisor, Relations Outside Québec, Hydro-Québec

  • Uwe Wehnhardt, President and CEO, Voith Hydro


IHA's new Board for 2019-2021

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit membership organisation committed to advancing sustainable hydropower. The association supports the sharing of good practices and champions continuous improvement across the hydropower sector. Find out more:


6 September 2019

Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica’s national electricity company, has joined the International Hydropower Association (IHA) as a gold member.

The company promotes and strengthens a model based on sustainability and universal access to electricity, together with the use of natural resources in complete environmental harmony.

Irene Cañas Díaz, President of ICE, stated: “Being part of such a prestigious organisation as IHA is a significant step for the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, bringing us closer to the highest standards in sustainability, as we are committed to maintain and foster our renewable energy mix, which relies foremost in hydropower."


ICE exclusively manages the country’s electricity system, achieving 99.4 per cent national electricity coverage. It bases its generation on five main renewable sources of energy, in order of size: water, geothermal, wind, biomass and sun.

ICE won the IHA Blue Planet Prize for excellence in sustainable hydropower at the World Hydropower Congress held in Paris in May 2019 for its Reventazón hydropower project.

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

IHA’s Chief Executive officer, Richard Taylor, welcomed ICE as the newest member of the association. “We are delighted that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad has joined as a gold member. We look forward to working together to exchange experiences and advance strategies that support sustainable hydropower project planning, development and operations,” he said.

Besides Reventazón, ICE’s other hydropower projects include the 134 MW Pirrís hydroelectric plant and the 180 MW Corobici hydroelectric plant. 

Costa Rica receives around 80 per cent of its energy from hydroelectricity.

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.

Members can connect with each other, join specialist networks and access resources through Hydropower Pro, IHA’s exclusive online community and mobile app.

Learn more about IHA membership:


7 August 2019

The Teesta-V hydropower station, in Sikkim in northern India, has been rated as an example of international good practice in hydropower sustainability, according to an independent report.

The 510 MW power station, owned and operated by NHPC Limited, was reviewed by a team of accredited assessors using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. Their report, which looked at the project’s operation, has now been published and is available to view online.



The assessment, the first of its kind in India, was conducted between January and June 2019 and involved two visits to the project area, with stakeholder interviews from 4-13 March.

According to the report, Teesta-V met or exceeded international good practice across all 20 performance criteria. It met proven best practice on its management of asset reliability and efficiency, financial viability, project benefits, cultural heritage, public health, and erosion and sedimentation.

Teesta-V is also the first hydropower project globally to publish results against new performance criteria covering its resilience to climate change and mitigation of carbon emissions, after the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) was expanded in scope in 2018.

Teesta-V is part of a cascade of hydropower projects along the Teesta River. It was built to supply power to Sikkim’s Energy & Power Department and other state-owned distribution companies in India’s eastern region, and commissioned in 2008 as the first large-scale power station in Sikkim. 

The report documents how NHPC, formerly known as the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, managed impacts on local communities and the environment, and how the project has provided “significant” benefits, including providing low-cost electricity and employment.

“Over the first ten years of operations, NHPC has expanded its activities along the Teesta River and made significant efforts to mitigate its social and environmental impacts, to create socio-economic benefits, and to communicate and cooperate with local communities,” the report said.

In a statement, NHPC Limited said: “Our company operates with a mission to achieve excellence in the development of clean power at international standards. Following this mission and vision in letter and spirit, NHPC sought a hydropower sustainability assessment of the Teesta-V Power Station using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.

“It is the first such assessment in India which itself proves the commitment of NHPC towards the sustainable development of hydropower. It is heartening to see that the Teesta-V Power Station has not only met basic good practices on all the parameters but it has also met global best practices on six performance areas. The results of this assessment will help NHPC to improve its business processes wherever required and to emulate best performance in its other projects.”

Dr Joerg Hartmann, lead assessor, said: “This assessment helped NHPC identify strengths as well as weaknesses in the Teesta-V project. These lessons can now be applied across the company’s entire project portfolio, and because NHPC chose to be transparent with the results, across the entire Indian hydropower sector. In fact, some of the best practices identified in the assessment – such as conducting a follow-up Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) ten years after project commissioning, to verify initial predictions of impacts and the effectiveness of mitigation measures – should be considered by project owners everywhere.”

About HSAP

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) is the leading international tool for measuring the sustainability of hydropower projects, having been applied in more than 25 countries. It offers a way to benchmark the performance of a hydropower project against a comprehensive range of environmental, social, technical and governance criteria.

Assessments are based on objective evidence and the results are presented in a standardised report. The HSAP is one of two complementary assessment tools - including the Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG) - used to measure performance against a set of Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice (HGIIP).

These tools are governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, which is composed of representatives of social and environmental non-profit organisations, governments, commercial and development banks, and the hydropower sector.

Assessors are trained and accredited by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), which serves as the council’s management body.

Download the report at:

24 July 2019

Government and business leaders should redouble efforts to address climate change and deliver sustainable development, say the organisers of a new global water and energy network.

“It is time to transform commitments into concrete actions,” said José Alberto Alderete, Paraguayan General Director of Itaipu Binacional, co-convenor of the new Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Partnership.

“Climate change challenges governments, businesses and civil society to work together to build a future of sustainable development for all.”


Itaipu Binacional, whose hydropower plant is the world’s largest producer of renewable energy, has joined forces with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) to establish the Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Partnership.

The partnership, which is supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), aims to lead global advocacy on the role of water and energy in achieving the SDGs, and to build the capacity of institutions by sharing knowledge about good practices.

In New York on 15 July 2019, the partnership convened a special event with the Government of Spain on ‘scaling up climate action through integrated water and energy solutions’ to coincide with the annual UN High-level Political Forum.

During the event, IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor presented the outcomes of the World Hydropower Congress, which saw participating organisations commit to support the clean energy transition, manage climate risks and champion good practice in hydropower development.

Participants heard that almost 1 billion people globally still do not have access to electricity, while 2.1 billion are without safely managed water services.


Mr Taylor, who sits on the partnership’s steering committee, said: “It is great to see the importance of Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions being taken to the highest levels. I believe this is fundamental for the realisation of most, if not all, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Mr Alderete, who was joined in New York by his Brazilian counterpart, Joaquim Silva e Luna, renewed Itaipu Binacional's commitment to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Water and energy are key elements of national agendas, where the private sector and governments need to work together in order to achieve the SDGs,” added Mr Alderete. “Itaipu Binacional is an example that a harmonious coexistence between the environment and technology is possible.”

Mr Silva e Luna said: “Itaipu´s great concern to deal in a sustainable manner with all the issues directly related to the company´s activities has much to contribute in the international agenda.”

Manuel Menéndez, Water General Director for Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition, highlighted the contribution of hydropower, especially pumped storage, to the energy transition. “Pumped storage is essential to achieve in Spain the target of 70 per cent renewables by 2030,” he said.

“Water and energy is life, water and energy is progress and is key for the transformation needed to fulfil all SDGs,” added Cristina Gallach, Spain’s High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda.

This year’s United Nations High-level Political Forum, convened under the theme of ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’, sees governments undertake the first global review of SDG 13 on climate action. 

To follow the activities of the Sustainable Water & Energy Solutions Partnership on Twitter visit: #WaterEnergySolutions

Find out more.