Hydropower Sustainability Alliance (HSA) was officially launched at the World Hydropower Congress. This multistakeholder, non-profit organization, representing a blend of public and private sectors, has set ambitious goals centered around enhancing transparency and sustainability within the sector. Their approach involves a comprehensive sustainability assessment and certification system, coupled with a robust capacity-building program.
The HSA takes charge of the Hydropower Sustainability (HS) Standard, a globally recognized and independent certification system designed to evaluate the sustainability of hydropower projects. The International Hydropower Association, the organizer of the World Hydropower Congress, has underscored the significance of this initiative. The HS Standard, which is now under the governance of representatives from governments, civil society, financial institutions, and industry, aims to ensure positive outcomes for individuals, businesses, and the environment.
The HS Standard assesses hydropower projects based on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. It establishes both minimum and advanced performance requirements for the sector, recognizing projects that meet these rigorous standards. What sets the HS Standard apart is its alignment with the safeguards of major lenders, such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank. Additionally, it paves the way for climate-aligned finance by certifying green bonds through the Climate Bonds Initiative and supports electricity sales to RE100 companies.
Dr. Ashok Khosla, the newly appointed president of the HSA, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “Hydropower has a major role to play in helping countries to achieve sustainable development, meet renewables targets, and address climate change. I am excited to be part of taking the next step as president of the HSA. The alliance will bring greater attention to the need for credible systems to incentivize the best projects, providing communities, governments, and investors greater confidence in their net benefits and how impacts on the local environment can be mitigated.”
The launch event was joined by representatives from recently certified hydropower owners, including Hydro-Québec (Eastmain-1 Development), Jirau Energia (Jirau Hydropower Plant), Pamir Energy (Sebzor Hydropower Project), and Urja Developers (Mai Beni project). Notably, each of these projects received the first-ever Gold certifications in their respective regions—North America, South America, Central Asia, and South Asia.
Edson Silva, the CEO of Jirau Energia, emphasized the significance of hydroelectricity in Brazil's energy landscape, stating, “As the primary source of electricity in Brazil, hydropower is essential to meet the country's energy demands. We recognize and advocate for the importance of hydroelectricity generation that actively minimizes any potential adverse social and environmental effects. We hope that Jirau can set an example for other hydropower projects across the world, encouraging them to continuously improve and demonstrate their sustainability practices.” This marks a promising step toward ensuring a more sustainable and transparent future for the hydropower sector.