Hydropower will be crucial in tackling climate change and building a pathway to a sustainable future. As the world’s largest source of flexible energy storage and clean electricity generation, it can provide the backbone of the renewable energy systems of the future.
The development of any major infrastructure project has impacts on local communities and the environment. As we strive towards net zero, our challenge will be to make sure that any energy facilities are developed responsibly and sustainably, and bring net-positive benefits to society.
When hydropower projects are sited, planned and built in a sustainable way, they can have tremendous positive impacts on local communities. In addition to power generation, hydropower can spur local economic growth and social investment, provide water supply and irrigation, protect communities against floods and droughts, and facilitate recreation and tourism.
The wider benefits to human development are significant too. Hydropower contributes greatly to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by providing resilient infrastructure, sustainable water management, affordable and reliable energy, and a solution to climate change.
Alongside advances in technology, multi-stakeholder progress in identifying good practices has transformed our understanding of how hydropower can be developed sustainably, and reduced its negative impacts.
By drawing upon the knowledge and experience we have developed together over the decades, we can build the future’s clean energy systems sustainably. We can, with hydropower.
Sustainable development in any industry can only be achieved when considering the full spectrum of voices, perspectives and expert knowledge. To this end, sustainable practices in hydropower have been refined over many years through dialogue between industry, communities, governments, NGOs and financial institutions.
The Hydropower Sustainability Standard is a result of this process. This internationally recognised certification scheme, created through multi-stakeholder consensus, provides a framework to ensure that hydropower projects have a positive impact on local communities and environments.
The Standard covers a range of sustainability topics, including the protection of biodiversity, maintaining healthy ecosystems, respecting cultural heritage, and improving the lives of project-affected communities. Learn more.
With hydropower, we can: