The 2021 IHA Blue Planet Prize for excellence in sustainable hydropower development has been awarded to the 510-MW Teesta-V hydropower project in India, operated by NHPC Limited.
The prize was awarded by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) at the biennial World Hydropower Congress. The award recognizes hydropower projects that have demonstrated their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance by undergoing a detailed assessment by independent assessors.
During its assessment, the Teesta-V project, located on the Teesta River in Sikkim, Northern India, met or exceeded international good practice across all 20 performance criteria using the Hydropower Sustainability Tools.
“This is a proud moment for NHPC and will encourage and inspire us to achieve higher standards in sustainability for hydropower project development and operation,” said NHPC Chairman and Managing Director Abhay Kumar Singh. “On behalf of NHPC Limited, I express our sincere gratitude to the International Hydropower Association for awarding the prestigious IHA Blue Planet Prize to NHPC’s Teesta-V Hydroelectric Power station.”
The Teesta-V project met proven international best practice in six topics, including project benefits, public health, cultural heritage, erosion and sedimentation, and asset reliability and efficiency. In addition, the project exceeded international good practice in nine topics and met basic good practice in the remainder.
The independent assessment report highlights how NHPC Limited has designed and implemented processes to manage its impacts on local communities and the environment. In doing so, the project has provided significant positive benefits, including providing low-cost electricity and employment to the region.
“We are delighted to award the 2021 IHA Blue Planet Prize to NHPC Limited’s Teesta-V station. The project has demonstrated a real commitment to transparency and good practice, and can hopefully act as a model in the region. No project is perfect and the path to sustainability can sometimes be bumpy, so we welcome NHPC Limited’s passion for sustainable development and encourage them to pursue this ambition beyond the recognition of the IHA Blue Planet Prize,” said Eddie Rich, chief executive of IHA said.
Teesta-V is part of a cascade of hydropower projects along the Teesta River designed to supply power to Sikkim’s Energy & Power Department and other state-owned distribution companies in India’s eastern region.
The sustainability assessment was conducted by a team of independent accredited assessors using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) from January to June 2019.