IHA performs first sustainability review on Australia’s 95.8-MW Trevallyn

HOBART, Australia 10/25/11 (PennWell) — A panel of the International Hydropower Association (IHA) has conducted the first sustainability assessment of a hydroelectric project, Australia’s 95.8-MW Trevallyn project, using IHA’s Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.

Trevallyn, which is operated by IHA Sustainability Partner Hydro Tasmania, was commissioned in 1955 on the South Esk River of Tasmania State. A dam diverts water from the South Esk through a 3.2-kilometer tunnel to a run-of-river hydro plant that then discharges into the Tamar River.

IHA launched the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, a comprehensive tool to assess the sustainability of hydropower projects globally, at the IHA 2011 World Congress on Advancing Sustainable Hydropower in June in Brazil.

An IHA assessment team began evaluation of Trevallyn with a site visit October 2, followed by two days of interviews in nearby Launceton and three days in Hobart. A close-out briefing was provided for Hydro Tasmania staff October 7.

Because the protocol’s systems are still being developed and assessors are still being trained, the assessment was classed as unofficial. The assessment evaluated the sustainability of Trevallyn’s operations using a structured and internationally consistent methodology and identified opportunities for improvement.

Hydro Tasmania said the assessment team spoke highly of the utility, stating that its “culture of direct and easy communication with highly committed staff created an extremely pleasurable experience for everyone.” Team leader Bernt Rydgren of Sweden’s Af Infrastructure commented on the high quality of resources and presentations made in an open environment.

Other assessment team members were Joerg Hartmann of the World Wildlife Fund and chairman of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, and Doug Smith, an IHA sustainability specialist. Andrew Scanlon, Hydro Tasmania’s manager, Sustainability & Safety, was client for the assessment, while Helen Lochner, the utility’s principal consultant, Sustainability, was coordinator of the planning team.

Upon completion, an unofficial sustainability assessment report is to be made available to interested stakeholders. It also is to be used as part of IHA’s training course for its Sustainability Partners and as a model of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol program.

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