December 11, 2019 IHA0

The Government of Costa Rica has been announced as host 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



May 15, 2019 IHA0

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).

“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.

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January 30, 2019 IHA0

Itaipu Binacional, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy, has become a strategic partner for the 2019 World Hydropower Congress.

The Brazilian-Paraguayan company operates the Itaipu power plant, which has produced more than 2.6 billion megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable electricity since it became operational in 1984.

In 2018, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) launched a new Global Network of Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions with Itaipu Binacional as its supporting partner. The initiative will create a platform for sharing knowledge and good practices on integrated approaches for delivering Sustainable Development Goals 6 (clean water and sanitation) and Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy).

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), welcomed Itaipu Binacional’s decision to support the World Hydropower Congress, which will be hosted in Paris from 14-16 May 2019. IHA is a member of the steering committee for the Global Network of Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions.

“Itaipu Binacional is a world leader in the hydropower sector and has made an extraordinary contribution to mitigating carbon emissions through the use of renewable energy since it began generation. Indeed, the World Hydropower Congress will mark the 35th anniversary of the Itaipu plant becoming operational.

“The company is today at the forefront of global efforts to share good practices in clean energy generation and responsible freshwater management in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Mr Taylor said.

With an annual production of over 90 million MWh, it is estimated that the electricity delivered by the Itaipu power plant avoids the emission of 38 million tonnes of CO2 per year, which gas-fired plants would produce to generate the same amount.

The 2019 World Hydropower Congress is organised by IHA. It will focus on hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. The congress is expected to bring together up to 1,000 representatives from industry, government, finance, academia and civil society to set priorities for the future of hydropower.

In a statement, Itaipu Binacional said: “Aware of the challenges the world is facing, Itaipu supports the 2019 World Hydropower Congress under the theme ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’, defending the benefits of hydroelectricity as a renewable source of energy and a vehicle for regional, social and environmental development.

“Itaipu is in line with the main international guidelines, protocols and platforms for sustainability, among them the SDGs, defined by the United Nations. Its social and environmental actions are oriented especially towards the protection of water, raw material for the generation of energy, and in improving the quality of life of the nearby communities in Brazil and Paraguay, reinforcing the business commitment with the Agenda 2030.

“By virtue of its leadership and experience in the energy sector and the broad sustainability agenda, Itaipu, together with the UN, supports the implementation of joint activities and contributes to capacity building, dialogues and cooperation at all levels, promoting the management of knowledge and the exchange of experiences in the theme of water and energy.

“Itaipu, besides being an example of integration and peaceful cooperation between two countries, also invests in research and innovation for the development of new technologies in the energy sector that can be at service of the Brazilian and the Paraguayan societies, with emphasis on renewable energy sources, and aiming at the sustainable development of its area of influence in both margins of the Parana River.”

About Itaipu Binacional

Itaipu Binacional is the largest generator of hydroelectricity in history, with more than 2.6 billion MWh produced since 1984. The power plant is the result of a partnership between Brazil and Paraguay and is located at the Paraná River, the border between the two countries.

With 14,000 MW of installed capacity, the plant holds the world record of annual production, with 103.1 million MWh generated in 2016. It is currently responsible for 15 per cent of the electricity consumed in Brazil and 90 per cent in Paraguay. The reach of Itaipu, however, extends far beyond energy generation, with several projects on sustainable development that take place at the border region between the two countries.