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“The IHA Blue Planet Prize 2019 recognises excellence in the overall sustainability performance of hydropower projects,” says Frank Faraday, sustainability programme manager at the International Hydropower Association.

Now accepting entries for 2019, this prize awards projects which clearly demonstrate excellence according to a range of social, environmental, technical and economic criteria.

Up to three projects can be awarded the accolade in each prize year.

“We encourage all developers and operators who have undertaken or are considering a Protocol assessment to get in touch today to find out how to apply,” recommends Faraday.

Seeking out excellence in hydropower

The IHA Blue Planet Prize was last awarded at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress.

It was won by the Blanda hydropower project in Iceland, owned and operated by Landsvirkjun. The prize has previously been awarded to six other projects since 2001.

The Blanda project scored international proven best practice on 14 out of the 17 topics that were assessed.

Standout successes include:

  • excellent relations with the communities and local stakeholders;
  • comprehensive social and environmental compensation measures in the form of highland re-vegetation and local infrastructure; and
  • social benefits provided over and above the licence requirements.

Blue Planet Prize 2019 open for entrants

For a project to be considered, it must have undergone an official assessment under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, an internationally recognised tool used to assess the performance of a hydropower project across more than 20 topics.

“The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol promotes and guides more sustainable hydropower projects by providing a common language and objective framework for understanding, communicating and improving performance,” states Faraday.

He adds: “The IHA Blue Planet Prize recognises excellence in the overall sustainability performance of hydropower projects. We encourage all developers and operators who have undertaken or are considering a Protocol assessment to get in touch today to find out how to apply.”

Eligible projects will have undergone an official Protocol assessment with the results of that assessment published before 31 December 2018.

A project must have achieved or exceeded good practice scores across all Protocol topics and the plant must have been commissioned prior to entry.

The winner will be chosen by a panel of experts from the hydropower and sustainability sectors. For more information on the prize and to register your interest, visit IHA’s website: hydropower.org/iha-blue-planet-prize

The prestigious Blue Planet Prize 2019, which recognises hydropower projects for their achievements in sustainability, will be awarded at the World Hydropower Congress in Paris, France on 14-16 May 2019.

An association on a hydro mission

The IHA’s mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. Read more: Guinea: EximBank approves $1.3bn for hydropower plant

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol was developed by a multi-stakeholder forum, which included representatives of environmental NGOs such as WWF and The Nature Conservancy, as well as social NGOs including Oxfam and Transparency International, and development banks, governments (China, Zambia, Iceland, Norway), and the hydropower sector.

The Protocol is governed by a multi-stakeholder body, the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council with IHA acting as the management entity of the Protocol in support of the Protocol Governance Committee. Read more: World Water Development Report seeks nature-based solutions