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New hydropower standard to lead the way for sustainable renewables

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International Hydropower Association
Our mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions.


  • New hydropower standard to lead the way for sustainable renewables

Sustainability pioneer Ashok Khosla has outlined the significance of Hydropower Sustainability Standard as the first of its kind in the renewables sector.

The Standard will be launched at the 2021 World Hydropower Congress in September, and is currently open for its second phase of public consultation until 2 August.

“We need standards for solar energy, we need standards for wind energy, we need standards for geothermal energy, and all the different kinds of energy sources that we will be using more of,” said Khosla in the interview.

“They are terrific in terms of reducing carbon emissions at the source where they are being converted into electricity, but frankly every one of them carries baggage,” he continued.

“Hydropower, as much as every other form of renewable energy, needs to be looked at dispassionately. Where they don't make sense, you shouldn't use them. Where they do make sense, you should use them. How do you tell? Well, you need standards.”

‍Public consultation on the Hydropower Sustainability Standard

The Standard will enable hydropower projects around the world to be independently rated and certified for their sustainability performance.

It is being shaped by an in-depth public consultation process led by the International Hydropower Association and the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, the multi-stakeholder governance body chaired by Khosla.

The second phase of public consultation is open for comments:

Congress Hydropower at the World Launch

The design of the Standard will be finalised in August ahead of its launch at the 2021 World Hydropower Congress.

The virtual Congress takes place on 7–24 September and is free to attend, bringing together high-level stakeholders from around the world to shape the future of renewables working together.

Upon its launch, the Standard will become the first certification scheme of its kind for a renewable energy source.

‍Looking ahead to COP26

The launch of the Standard will be a landmark moment for the renewables sector as world leaders prepare to gather at COP26 in November.

“The issue that we would like to put before the world at Glasgow for COP26 is to find ways to reduce carbon emissions that are essentially based on working with nature,” said Khosla.

“Nature-based solutions are really the future of not just energy, but of all development programs. And I believe that hydropower, in selected areas, can be a wonderful nature-based solution.”

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