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, France, the guide introduces an innovative methodology for assessing climate risks and identifying corresponding climate resilience measures.
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.
Comment from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD):
“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.”
Comment from the World Bank Group (WBG):
“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.