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IHA releases guide to help hydropower build resilience to climate change

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has launched The Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide, technical guidance to help the hydropower industry become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The guide – launched at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris — 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.

IHA says the guide introduces an innovative methodology for assessing climate risks and identifying corresponding climate resilience measures. The guide provides a practical framework for assessing the projected impacts of climate change on hydropower systems, which 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.

“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,” said IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor said. “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 from 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.

“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.”

Click here to download the guide.