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The International Hydropower Association (IHA) launched a new virtual training academy for hydropower specialists. The academy aims to expand and improve knowledge of hydropower sustainability.

The association notes that the hydropower sustainability training academy builds on its 25 years of experience in developing guidance on hydro-electricity development, as well as its expertise in delivering training and capacity building. The courses are based on the internationally recognised hydropower sustainability tools.

IHA’s chief executive, Eddie Rich, says the academy marks a major step in widening access to knowledge about responsible hydro-electricity development.

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“IHA’s mission is to advance sustainable hydropower. This new suite of courses aims to grow professional expertise across a range of sustainability performance areas. Restrictions on travel and social distancing measures as a result of the global pandemic have accelerated IHA’s plans to provide these courses virtually,” Rich added.

Comprehensive and practical courses

The Hydropower Sustainability Training Academy currently offers three professional training courses. Two of these courses are designed to help participants develop the skills and knowledge to become either a certified user or accredited assessor of the Hydropower Sustainability Tools.

The third course caters to practitioners who want to know how to accurately estimate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from hydro-electric projects using the G-res Tool. The courses will soon be available in a variety of languages with plans to expand the courses on offer in 2021.

Endorsed by industry, governments, financial institutions, and social and environmental non-profit organisations, the hydropower sustainability tools are also aligned with World Bank and IFC standards. They are used by developers and operators around the world to design, build and assess hydropower projects of all types and sizes.

The training courses are targeted at professionals working with both the public and private sectors, including but not limited to programme managers, operations, energy, environmental, social, legal and dam specialists, and compliance officers. 

IHA’s Head of Sustainability Joao Costa said: “IHA’s training courses aim to equip participants with essential knowledge about good and best practices on sustainable hydropower. Providing insights on matters such as biodiversity, climate resilience, financial viability or resettlement, the trainers will cover all aspects that need to be managed in hydropower projects.

“Participants will become familiar with the sustainability assessment process, and will be able to recognise how and when to apply the hydropower sustainability tools to elevate the way hydropower projects are developed.”

Training track record

IHA has a strong track record in providing in-person and online training to industry, multilateral institutions and governments. In the past year, IHA has provided virtual training to 140 employees of the World Bank, IFC and the Indonesian government as well as private sector stakeholders.

Pravin Karki, the World Bank Group’s global lead hydropower and dams commented that “IHA’s Certified User Training and G-res Tool Training have been extremely valuable to World Bank staff, ensuring we are up to speed on good and best practice in sustainable hydropower. The online format is effective and professional and we encourage policy and practice specialists in the sector to take advantage of these courses.”

IHA provides the option of either in-person or online training (in-person training is currently on hold due to the global pandemic). The online platform provides a blend of live and self-paced learning.

Participants in the online courses take part in virtual classrooms where trainers deliver live stream lessons, lead group activities and host interactive Q&A sessions. To complement the live sessions, participants work on self-paced activities, including reading, pre-recorded screencasts and individual assignments.

Upcoming online training courses in November and December

Certified User Training: A three-week Certified User Training online course will start on Tuesday 10 November 2020 (participants are required to attend live streaming sessions on 10, 17 and 24 November). This course will provide participants with the skills and competences to support and manage an assessment using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) or the Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG). 

G-res Tool training: A one-week G-res Tool Training online course will start on Monday 7 December 2020 (participants are required to attend live streaming sessions on 7, 9 and 11 December). This course will provide participants with the basic knowledge of geographic information systems and reservoir GHG dynamics to assess the GHG emissions of hydropower projects. 

Visit the website for more information about the upcoming courses or to register your interest.