International Hydropower Association

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International Hydropower Association
International Hydropower Association (IHA) logo.png
Motto Advancing Sustainable Hydropower
Formation 1995
Type Non-Profit International Mutual Association of Members
Headquarters London
  • United Kingdom
Ken Adams
Key people
Richard Taylor, Executive Director

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a not-for-profit, international organization representing the hydropower sector - focussed in particular on electricity generation, water management, and related industries. The IHA has members in more than 80 countries drawn from organisations and individuals in industry, international organisations, governments, scientific and academic institutions, and civil society.[1] The organization states one of its purposes is to "address[...] the role of hydropower in meeting the world’s growing water and energy needs as a clean, renewable and sustainable technology".[1]


The IHA was formed under the auspices of UNESCO in 1995 as a forum to promote and disseminate good practice and further knowledge about hydropower.[1] The organisation has a Central Office based in London, United Kingdom and representative offices and affiliated organizations in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Middle East.[1]


IHA aims to advance hydropower’s role in meeting the world’s water and energy needs by:[2]


The IHA has five different membership categories:[3]

  • Platinum Sponsor: Hydropower sector leaders actively engaged in dialogue on the future of hydropower and wishing to ensure sufficient financial resources for the work of IHA
  • Corporate Sponsor: Hydropower sector leaders actively engaged in dialogue on the future of hydropower
  • Corporate 1: Organizations with more than 100 hydro-related employees and/or more than 500 MW of hydro capacity
  • Corporate 2: Organizations with 25 -100 hydro-related employees and/or 50-500 MW of hydro capacity
  • Individual Members: Independent specialists and students working or interested in hydropower and the renewable energy sector

Organisational structure[edit]

IHA is governed by a board elected from its members currently consisting of the President Mr Ken Adams (Canada), six Vice-Presidents (from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, and Norway), a further 12 board members (from USA, France, Australia, Germany, Russia, Zambia, Canada, South Africa, Austria, Malaysia, and Norway), and the Executive Director (a non-voting board member position), Richard Taylor (UK).[4] The board aims for a balanced geographic distribution of representation in its composition and conducts its affairs, including two-yearly elections, according to a formal written constitution and by-laws.[5] The Board is supported by a Central Office, the administrative arm of the IHA. There are also a number of ad-hoc sub-committees and working groups on strategic and topical issues formed pursuant to Board resolutions.


The IHA Head Office is situated in London, United Kingdom, managed by the Executive Director, Richard Taylor, and Programme Directors, Cameron Ironside and Tracy Lane, supported by a number of expert and administrative personnel.[6]

International policy[edit]

IHA acts as a voice of and for hydropower in international governmental and sector water, energy, and climate change fora and in the media - promoting a fact-based, balanced, consensus-building approach. The organisation is drawn on as a source for statistics on hydropower for authoritative world energy and renewable energy publications such as the REN21 Global Status Reports [7] and IIASA Global Energy Assessment (GEA).[8]

IHA has consultative and/or observer status with all United Nations agencies addressing water, energy and climate change[1] and cooperates and collaborates with international organisations with interests in renewable energy such as IEA, WEC, and the World Bank. It is an active participant in the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) founded in Bonn, Germany, on 26 January 2009.

IHA is a founding member of International Renewable Energy Alliance (REN Alliance) was formed on 4 June 2004, in Bonn, Germany, by the International Geothermal Association (IGA), the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), and the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).[9] The World Bioenergy Association (WBA) subsequently joined the REN Alliance in June 2009.

Key initiatives[edit]

The IHA is currently undertaking key initiatives in sustainability, climate change, water, energy, and markets and investment - these include the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol[10] and the UNESCO / IHA Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Status of Freshwater Reservoirs Research Project.[11]

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol[10] a comprehensive tool to assess the sustainability of hydropower projects globally, was launched in June 2011 at the International Hydropower Association (IHA) World Congress on Advancing Sustainable Hydropower. It provides a thorough, evidence-based assessment of between 19-23 relevant sustainability topics, depending on the development stage of the project.

The Protocol is the product of a rigorous multi-stakeholder development process between 2008 and 2010, involving representatives from social and environmental NGOs (Oxfam, Nature Conservancy, Transparency International, WWF); governments (China, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Zambia); commercial and development banks (including banks that are signatory to the Equator Principles, and the World Bank); and the hydropower sector, represented by IHA.

The Protocol development process included field trials in 16 countries, across six continents, and stakeholder engagement with 1,933 individuals in 28 countries.

The topics cover the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental, and include issues such as downstream flow regimes, indigenous peoples, biodiversity, infrastructure safety, resettlement, water quality, and erosion and sedimentation. The assessment tools are used as a framework to produce a sustainability profile for a hydropower project. In so doing, multiple stakeholders can become better informed on the sustainability profile of a project, and develop strategies to address any weaknesses. The Protocol can be used during all stages of hydropower project development: early stage, preparation, implementation and operation. This new approach to promote continuous improvement in hydropower sustainability has been designed so that the sustainability of hydropower projects can be assessed anywhere in the world, covering a broad range of possible case scenarios.

Both the Protocol and the assessment of specific projects are coordinated, directed and managed by a multi-stakeholder Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council.[12] The mission of the Council is to ensure multi-stakeholder input and confidence in the Protocol content and its application. Structurally, the Council is formed of several Chambers that will involve diverse stakeholders including:

  • environment or conservation organisations
  • social impacts, project affected communities, and indigenous peoples' organisations
  • development, public or commercial banks, financial organisations, and private investors/ investment funds
  • emerging and developing economy country governments
  • advanced economy country governments
  • hydropower consultants, contractors or equipment suppliers
  • hydropower operators or developers
Dr. Jörg Hartmann, Hydropower sustainability assessment council, at the 6th World Water Forum

Dr Joerg Hartmann, Water Security Leader, WWF International was confirmed as the first chair of the Protocol Council’s Governance Committee at the Protocol’s launch in Brazil, in June 2011.

Implementation of the Protocol in the European Union is supported through Hydro4LIFE,[13] a European Commission-funded project. The project is 50% co-funded by the European Commission’s Life+ Environment Policy and Governance programme, and 50% by IHA, with a total budget of €1.2 million. It is coordinated by IHA and runs from 1 September 2010 to 1 September 2013.

In addition, eleven international organisations have become early adopters by agreeing to implement the Protocol in at least one hydropower project within their sphere of influence. Known as IHA Sustainability Partners[14] these are: EDF, E.ON, GDF Suez, Itaipu Binacional,[15] Hydro Equipment Association,[16] Hydro Tasmania, Landsvirkjun, Manitoba Hydro, Odebrecht, Sarawak Energy,[17] and Statkraft.

IHA Sustainability Partners receive training on the content and application of the Protocol, an unofficial Protocol assessment (assisted self-assessment) and an official Protocol assessment. Other Sustainability Partner models are also available to meet the relevant needs of participating organisations.

The UNESCO / IHA GHG Status of Freshwater Reservoirs Research Project[18] is hosted by the IHA, in collaboration with the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO.

The Project is a global initiative to improve understanding of the impact of reservoirs on natural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a river basin. To date, the Project has involved some 160 researchers, scientists and professionals, from more than 100 institutions. The overall objective of the project is the evaluation of changes in GHG emissions due to the impoundment of freshwater reservoirs. The project deliverables include:

  • Development of measurement guidance for the evaluation of any change in the pre-existing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Promotion of scientifically rigorous measurements on a representative set of reservoirs (in accordance with the above guidance) and recording of the results in a common database
  • Development of predictive modelling tools to assess the GHG status of unmonitored reservoirs and potential new reservoir sites
  • Development of mitigation guidance for vulnerable sites.

A key milestone in the project was the publication, in 2010, of the GHG Measurement Guidelines for Freshwater Reservoirs,[19] a comprehensive tool to assess the GHG status of freshwater reservoirs, describing standardised procedures for field measurements and calculation methods to estimate the impact of the creation of a reservoir on a river basin’s overall GHG emissions. The application of these Guidelines to a set of representative reservoirs worldwide allows the building of a reliable, standardised results database, in order to develop the basis for predictive modelling capability.

One of the next activities of the project is to work towards a tool to provide insights into the likelihood of a reservoir site to increase or decrease GHG emissions above the baseline condition.

IHA World Congress[edit]

IHA organises a World Congress bi-annually regarded as the world event in the hydropower sector. The first IHA World Congress was held in Antalya, Turkey. The second was held in Reykjavík, Iceland on 23–26 June 2009,[20] and the third was held in Iguassu, Brazil on 14–17 June 2011.[21] The IHA 2013 World Congress will be held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.[22]

IHA awards[edit]

In collaboration with UNESCO, IHA awards the IHA Blue Planet Prize every two years.[23] The prize recognizes outstanding performance in sustainable management of hydropower schemes. The previous recipients of the award are:

  • 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)

A special award was presented by the IHA Board to Prof. Dr. Emil Mosonyi (see: "Mosonyi Emil" in the Magyar and Deutsch versions of Wikipedia), IHA Founder and Honorary President, on 20 October 2004 at the closing ceremony of Hydro 2004 in Porto, Portugal.[24] This event marked the start of an award series, called the Mosonyi Award, to acknowledge an IHA member's outstanding contribution to hydropower. The terms of the future process will involve the nomination of a candidate by IHA members from three different countries.


  • Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (November 2010)[25]
  • GHG Measurement Guidelines for Freshwater Reservoirs (2010)[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e About IHA, Introduction, IHA, May 2009
  2. ^ About IHA, Introduction, Mission, IHA, May 2009
  3. ^ IHA Membership Categories and Fees, IHA, September 2011
  4. ^ About IHA, IHA Board, IHA, July 2014
  5. ^ About IHA, Constitution, IHA, May 2009
  6. ^ About IHA, IHA Central Office, IHA, May 2009
  7. ^ REN21 Global Status Reports, REN21, May 2009
  8. ^ IIASA GEA Secretariat, IIASA GEA Secretariat, May 2009
  9. ^ REN Alliance Homepage, REN Alliance, May 2009
  10. ^ a b [1], IHA, May 2009
  11. ^ UNESCO / IHA GHG Status of Freshwater Reservoirs Research Project, IHA, May 2009
  12. ^ [2], IHA, August 2011
  13. ^ [3], IHA, August 2011
  14. ^ [4], Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, Sustainability Partners, August 2011
  15. ^ [5], Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, Sustainability Partners, August 2011
  16. ^ [6], Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, Sustainability Partners, August 2011
  17. ^ [7], Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, Sustainability Partners, August 2011
  18. ^ [8], IHA, August 2011
  19. ^ [9], IHA, August 2011
  20. ^ IHA World Congress 2009 Homepage, IHA, May 2009
  21. ^ IHA World Congress 2011 Homepage, IHA, Dec 2010
  23. ^ Blue Planet Prize Information, IHA, May 2009
  24. ^ Mosonyi Award, IHA, May 2009
  25. ^ [10]
  26. ^ [11]

External links[edit]