1.1.jpg

May 16, 2019 IHA0

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. 

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 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”.

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

 

1.2.jpg

May 16, 2019 IHA0

The 2019 IHA Young Researcher Award has been jointly awarded to two rising stars from universities in Switzerland and China, at an awards ceremony at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris.

Martina Botter, a PhD student at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, and Weijia Yang, a Research Associate Professor at Wuhan University, were recognised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) for their research studies.

Ms Botter’s research provides a decision support system to test new hydropower operation strategies to adapt to a changing climate and economic context. The framework has the capability of accounting for the uncertainty which characterises the operating context, so that multiple different scenarios can be considered at the same time and robust adaptation strategies can be identified. 

On receiving her award, Ms Botter said: “I am honoured to have received this prize. It means motivation to me, motivation to continue investigating in the field of climate resilience, adaptation strategies and a multi-objective approach in the decision making process of hydropower planning and management. I am very glad to see the relevance these topics have in this World Hydropower Congress, since they represent the main challenges for the future of hydropower.”

Mr Weija Yang, who works at Wuhan University’s State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, submitted research offering an assessment framework of burden on hydropower units for short-term balancing of renewable power systems. His paper looks at the dynamic characteristics of hydropower systems, including pumped storage, and the interaction between hydropower plants and power systems.

Mr Weijia Yang, who works at Wuhan University’s State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, submitted research offering an assessment framework of burden on hydropower units for short-term balancing of renewable power systems. His paper looks at the burden, performance and payment of hydropower regulation under various conditions and future scenarios, leading to potential benefits for hydropower producers and transmission system operators.

Two finalists were also recognised at the awards ceremony: Sebastián Leguizamón, a PhD student from EPF Lausanne, and Chantel Monica Niebuhr, a PhD student from the University of Pretoria. The ceremony took place at Pavillon d’Armenonville in the city of Paris.

The IHA Young Researcher Award is open to young engineers and scientists aged under 30 and is made every two years at the World Hydropower Congress.

Entrants are invited to submit a short article summarising their work (no more than 1,500 words). The subject must be relevant to at least one of the topics under discussion at the upcoming World Hydropower Congress.

The winner will receive a year’s individual membership with IHA and free registration to the World Hydropower Congress, where they present their research.

IHA’s Chief Executive Richard Taylor said: “The IHA Young Researcher Award provides an opportunity for young innovators to share their research with key representatives from the hydropower sector, government, financial and academic institutions and civil society. It is a rare chance to bring specialist research findings to the attention of policy-makers from around the world.”

The award was first presented at the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, China, where it was won by Sami Khan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his work on hydrophobic rare-earth oxide coatings and their potential application in hydropower systems.

It was awarded again at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The recipients were Alexandros Korkovelos of KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sara Mercier-Blais of the University of Quebec in Montreal and Rafael Schmitt of UC Berkeley.

www.hydropower.org/iha-young-researcher-award


llaslalala.jpg

May 16, 2019 IHA0

The prestigious 2019 IHA Mosonyi Award for Excellence in Hydropower was jointly awarded to three leading members of the hydropower community, at an awards ceremony at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris on 15 May.

The award went to: Karin Seelos, Stakraft Vice President (Power Generation and International Affairs); Refaat Abdel Malek, Former President of IHA and Vice Chairman of MWH Global; and Yan Zhiyong, Chairman of Power Construction Corporation of China.

Karin Seelos was recognised by the judging panel for her long-standing commitment to hydropower sustainability, which has had a major impact on the profession. Her work, including on an IHA White Paper on Hydropower and Sustainable Development, helped form the foundation for sector-wide sustainability guidelines and assessment tools. This helped catalyse a revolution of policy and thinking in the sector.

On receiving her award, Ms Seelos said “I am very grateful and deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award and would like to thank the IHA Board for this recognition. I was lucky to gain experience from some of the world’s leading hydropower utilities, Hydro-Québec in French Canada, and Statkraft in Norway.”

Ms Seelos reflected on the “tremendous journey” that the hydropower sector has undergone in the past two decades since IHA was established. Hydropower is now considered a “key resource to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change”, she said.

“I hope the sector will continue its collaborative journey, focusing on gaining and sharing knowledge as an important part of the renewables family. Being part of the solution will be key to our success.”

Refaat Abdel Malek was President of IHA between 2007 and 2013, during which time he contributed to the development of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. Under his leadership, IHA led outreach to civil society organisations and governmental agencies supporting development around the world. He contributed actively to the participation of Latin American and Chinese organisations in international forums and to sharing knowledge in an inclusive way.

Mr Malek said: “I am grateful for the IHA for the excellent recognition through the IHA Mosonyi Award. The highlight of my career is to be a part of the IHA effort, together with other colleagues and organisations, to achieve the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. An achievement that returned the development of hydropower to the forefront of sustainable energy around the world.”

Yan Zhiyong was recognised for his contribution to the development of China’s hydropower industry and for his commitment to implement sustainability practices. With a philosophy of ‘people oriented green development’, he has organised and participated in formulating renewable energy development master plans for around 100 countries. He started as a designer in hydropower planning, then became the President of the China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute before he was Chairman of Power Construction Corporation of China.

Named after the renowned engineer Prof Dr Emil Mosonyi, IHA’s founding President, the award is for one or more of the following:

  • a long-standing commitment or initiative that has had a major impact on the profession;
  • a specific hydropower project, the performance of an organisation or the hydropower sector in general; or
  • an aspect of hydropower sustainability (technical, economic, social or environmental) or a broad-ranging initiative, such as national-level or basin-level strategic planning.

The winners receive lifetime honorary membership with IHA and guest registration to the 2019 World Hydropower Congress.

The Mosonyi award was one of three presented at the 2019 World Hydropower Congress, along with the IHA Blue Planet Prize and the IHA Young Researcher Award.