Sustaining Hydropower Growth by Keeping Hydropower Sustainable

Editors’ Note: We invited Richard Taylor, executive director of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), to share his association’s outlook on hydropower.

2014 promises to be a record-breaking year for the hydropower sector worldwide, as nations look for ways to meet their water and energy needs with clean, renewable electricity. As the focus on hydropower sharpens, so do critics. More than ever, the sector will have to come together to share good practices and provide robust evidence to defend its performance.

IHA publishes an annual review of the sector. This year’s Hydropower Report sheds light on some striking developments; hydropower generation totalled about 3,800 TWh, with China’s 280 GW of capacity generating almost a quarter of that total. In the world, pure hydropower capacity passed the threshold of 1,000 GW, and pumped storage capacity reached 140 GW.

Undeniably, nations around the world are encouraged to turn to hydropower to unlock and increase their economic potential: China’s Xiluodu is expected to reach its full 13.84 GW capacity this summer, and Brazil’s CDM registered San Antonio and Jirau plants will have commissioned their combined 100 turbines (7.3 GW) by 2016.

Other striking progress is seen in Ethiopia, Vietnam and Turkey, but mature markets such as Canada are also looking to develop more capacity, especially as hydropower development can be supported by regional interconnectors.

Obviously the performance of hydropower will continue to be scrutinized, as energy solutions compete for attention among decision-makers in the policy and finance sectors. It is our responsibility to ensure that best practices are shared, not only from a technical perspective but also with regard to environmental and social aspects of hydropower development and operation.

To benchmark their performance, a number of major hydropower players, such as Electricite de France, Itaipu in Brazil and China Three Gorges Corp. are using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. This tool is now being applied in all regions of the world, and we expect more applications to take place in the coming year.

Guest Editorial – By Richard Taylor

Keeping hydropower connected

PennWell’s Hydro Group recently completed an insightful study of the demographic make-up of professionals in the hydro sector.

This is a study about you and your colleagues … individuals who read HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide and its sister publication Hydro Review, who visit the website and attend the HydroVision events throughout the world (held each year in the United States, Brazil, Russia and India).

You’ll find the results in an “infographic” posted on

Based on these demographics, the hydro audience:

– Has great knowledge and experience … nearly 80% of you have more than 10 years of hydro industry-specific experience.

– Takes your work quite seriously and has major responsibilities at its respective projects and companies.

– Makes lots of decisions … two of every three of you have some level of authority to purchase services and products.

Where do you get your information? Besides HRW – Hydro Review Worldwide, that is!

You love information … information to help you learn even more, make responsible decisions and, ultimately, enhance your job performance.

– You get this information from a mix of media … magazines, websites, e-mail, books and each other!

– The No. 1 source for decision making is magazines, delivered both digitally and in print.

– A close second is the Internet. You are “power” users of … averaging 9 minutes per session, which is way above the industry average.

– You like the convenience and immediacy of information presented in digital form.

You’re connected, so move over tweeting teenagers! The hydro industry is linked in!

Speaking of LinkedIn, more than half of you use LinkedIn. So, log on and join the HydroWorld group, already more than 600 of you strong! I’ll meet you there!

These statistics tell it all!

David Appleyard
Chief Editor

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Renewable Energy World's content team members help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S., the UK, and South Africa, the team is comprised of editors from Clarion Energy's myriad of publications that cover the global energy industry.

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