EDF has partnered with the International Hydropower Association (IHA) to implement the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol on one of our projects within the European Union. We are a foundation ‘Sustainability Partner’ and are also participating in ‘Hydro4LIFE’, IHA’s European Commission-funded project to implement the Protocol within the European Union. Our Sustainability Partnership is a three year engagement, comprising a training/capacity building workshop, an unofficial assessment using the Protocol, and an official assessment using the Protocol.
Electricité de France (EDF)
Hydropower, sustainability assessment, renewable energy, LIFE
EDF has partnered with the International Hydropower Association (IHA) to implement the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol on one of our projects within the European Union. We are a foundation ‘Sustainability Partner’ and are also participating in ‘Hydro4LIFE’, IHA’s European Commission-funded project to implement the Protocol within the European Union.
Our Sustainability Partnership is a three year engagement, comprising a training/capacity building workshop, an unofficial assessment using the Protocol, and an official assessment using the Protocol. These activities include EDF staff, as well as observers such as regulators or NGOs, as a mechanism to ensure the best-practice knowledge about sustainable hydropower embedded in the Protocol is shared as widely as possible. We are also actively working with IHA as a Sustainability Partner to promote the importance of sustainable hydropower both within the European Union and globally.
As part of Hydro4LIFE, we are also committed to promoting our Sustainability Partnership through publicity via electronic means (such as the Hydro4LIFE website) and more traditional communication mechanisms (such as notice boards erected at our project site).
This solution will contribute towards sustainable hydropower by offering a real-world trial of the Protocol and assist in its ongoing refinement and application globally.
The Protocol assessment will occur at one of our sites within the European Union.
EDF initiated the Sustainability Partnership with IHA because the Protocol is globally recognised as the leading tool to assess sustainability in hydropower. It is a tool that we as industry believe in, and are prepared to use, because it is rigorous, evidence-based and has the support of leading international organisations such as WWF and The Nature Conservancy. The extensive trialling and development phase of the Protocol between 2008 and 2010 was a key reason we decided to commit to using the Protocol as a Sustainability Partner. Global testing is critical as it has shown us that the Protocol is an internationally applicable and comparable method for assessing sustainability that will add real value to our business. It has also shown that it is a practically realistic tool which can be understood both at the local, project level, and at strategic management level.
Assessments and training are expected to take place in 2012.
Ensuring the sustainability of hydropower is critical not only at a project level, but also in terms of contributing towards the global goal of advancing clean, renewable energy to reduce climate change and dependency on fossil fuels. As a Sustainability Partner, our willingness to implement the Protocol within our sphere of influence means that, as a tool, the Protocol will be able to advance the preparation and implementation/operation of sustainable hydropower schemes.
As mentioned above, the Protocol is a rigorous tool for assessing sustainability and we believe it is the most practical and useful tool available for conducting such assessments. Its extensive topic coverage, evidence-based structure and readily communicable presentation of results all contribute to the reason why we believe it is the most suitable mechanism to advance sustainable hydropower.
The hydropower industry requires a practical tool to guide sustainability in our sector and the Protocol provides the most cost-effective and useful solution for achieving our goals.
The key outputs of the solution are our participation in a) a training and capacity building workshop, b) an unofficial assessment and c) an official assessment. These activities will further our knowledge about the Protocol and allow us to embed it deeply within our systems.
The assessments will enable us to identify project strengths and weaknesses and to enhance the security of our investment in sustainable hydropower. They will deliver very tangible long-term impacts, as we will be able to improve our operations not only on the Protocol assessment site, but also on other EDF sites as we transmit the learning gained through the Sustainability Partnership process.
The key indicators of success for EDF and our Sustainability Partnership with IHA are that we have strongly embedded the best-practice Protocol knowledge within our business systems and practices.
We expect to see a change not only at the Protocol assessment site, but throughout our business as we share the knowledge gained through the partnership. The duration of the change we expect to see is ongoing – immediately with the training workshop and project assessment participants, and into the future as knowledge of the Protocol’s topics and methodologies improves project development and operation in other EDF activities.
Given our experience, we would consider that any other hydropower operator or developer should be interested in this solution. As the Protocol is a globally applicable methodology for assessing hydropower sustainability, it has high replication potential. There are also no limits in terms of its potential to upscale, as assessments can be carried out on any hydropower facility from early stage, through to preparation, implementation or operation. There are also no limits in terms of the size of the facility.
It could also be of interest to other hydropower players, such as regulators, or financial institutions. This solution works well from the point of view of the project developer, but it could also be implemented by a project financier who is seeking a greater depth of information about the project in question.
A key element of the Hydro4LIFE project which we are participating in is the analysis of Protocol assessment results to determine the Protocol’s fit with the European Commission’s Water Framework Directive. It is also possible that the Protocol could provide a solution for other regulatory requirements.
We understand that, to date, nine other organisations have committed to become IHA Sustainability Partners and apply the Protocol to a project within their sphere of influence. We also understand that there is a strong pipeline of interest from other organisations, including regulators and financial institutions, on the possibility of participating in Protocol assessments.
Within the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council there is substantial commitment on behalf of other organisations to support Protocol applications, including environmental and social NGOs, developed and developing country governments, and banks and other financial institutions.
Laurent BELLET – email@example.com
Water and Energy Specialist
EDF Group – Hydro Division
LYON : 196 avenue Thiers – 69461 Lyon Cedex 06