New sustainability standard: funding available to hydropower projects seeking certification

Hydropower projects around the globe can now apply for financing to support the cost of assessment for certification against the newly launched Hydropower Sustainability Standard.

A fund of up to US$1 million provided by the Swiss government and managed by the International Hydropower Association’s non-profit sustainability division is available to around 40 hydropower projects over the next three years.

The Hydropower Sustainability Standard is a labelling system that was launched at the 2021 World Hydropower Congress. Under the scheme, projects that undergo an independent assessment and meet minimum performance criteria are awarded with a Certified Sustainable Hydropower label.

The certification scheme has been backed by leading industry companies and international organisations such as GE Renewable Energy, Hydro-Québec, Voith Hydro and the International Energy Agency.

The fund will award a total of 1 million Swiss Francs (US$ 1.02m) to 40 or more hydropower projects up to 2023. Recipients will receive a grant to part sponsor the cost of commissioning an independent sustainability assessment and applying for certification.

Joao Costa, Head of Sustainability at IHA, commented: “Sustainable hydropower has a crucial role to play in the fight against climate change and decarbonising global energy grids. It is vital to ensure that future hydropower development is carried out sustainably, conserving biodiversity, protecting ecosystems and improving the lives of affected communities”

“This fund can help hydropower developers and operators across the world to upgrade the sustainability of their hydropower projects and help generate the clean, green, sustainable hydropower needed to power the planet”

In selecting projects, preference will be given to projects looking to access climate and green bonds, or for projects where the assessment is intended to achieve certification against the Hydropower Sustainability Standard as opposed to simply funding a performance assessment.

The fund is available to all projects at any stage of development and operation. Applicants will need to demonstrate a strong track record or commitment to sustainability and show that their project aligns with national or regional development policies.

The additional call for proposals is now open to projects from the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malawi, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, Rwanda, Serbia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.