The Hydropower Sustainability Standard was launched Sept. 8 at the International Hydropower Association’s World Hydropower Congress and will help to ensure that hydropower projects across the world are recognized and certified for their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.

Developed by a coalition of industry, governments, multilateral and financial institutions and civil society organizations, the certification scheme aims to build trust and promote transparency in the hydropower sector.

“This new certification system is a game-changer for hydropower and is unmatched in the renewables sector,” commented Ashok Khosla, chair of the Hydropower Sustainability Council, which issued the new certification system.

The Hydropower Sustainability Standard is launched after a public consultation by the Hydropower Sustainability Council, with the support of IHA. The standard is cited in the San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower, to be issued at the conclusion of the World Hydropower Congress, as the means to demonstrate a project’s sustainability.

Leading IHA members have declared their support for the new certification scheme, according to a release. Developers, operators and manufacturers – from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Iceland, Sarawak (Malaysia), the UK and the U.S. – have either already confirmed they will put forward projects for certification or have urged their clients to comply with the new standard.

Hydropower projects will have to meet strict ESG performance criteria after an independent assessment to be awarded a Certified Sustainable Hydropower label. Projects can be certified during planning, construction and operation, and the highest performers will be recognized with Silver and Gold certification status.

“To meet the critical challenge of climate change, we urgently need greater investment in renewable energy such as hydropower,” Dr Khosla said. “Due to the scale of investment required, the hydropower sector needs a credible, transparent certification scheme that will incentivise the best projects. This will give communities, governments and investors greater confidence

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