Maximizing potential for healthy rivers and low-carbon energy
To provide the necessary resources for our growing communities, more river flows will be diverted for agriculture and industry, stored for drinking water, and harnessed to meet rising energy demands.
And how do we ensure that investments in hydropower are lower risk and realize a broader portfolio of benefits?
It requires reframing the challenge between development and rivers as one of system design — meaning, we must consider a comprehensive management system that balances the needs of energy and industry with what river basins need to remain healthy and thriving.
The business case builds from the 2015 Power of Rivers report and draws from the Conservancy’s 65-year history of providing evidence-based, bottom-line oriented solutions to balancing conservation and development needs.
Key findings suggest that the potential global economic benefits of widespread adoption of a system scale approach to hydropower planning and management are significant: even a 5 percent improvement in other water-management resources in hydropower-influenced basins would produce up to US$38 billion per year in additional benefits, a sum comparable to average annual investment in hydropower.
Hydropower by Design can guide site selection toward a portfolio of projects with a lower percentage of significant delays and cost overruns due to environmental and social risks.
System scale thinking: essential to increasing investment benefits, minimizing risk Across renewable energy sources, it’s critical that we consider early planning and holistic approaches to avoid or mitigate impacts to our productive lands and waters.
Countries facing urgent demands to increase electricity generation are understandably hesitant to embark on a strategic planning process if they believe it will delay delivery of projects that can meet rising demand.
By drawing from integrated water-management, energy, and financial models, Hydropower by Design (HbD) can deliver useful insights about development and management options for governments, investors, and developers in a relatively short period of time.
And the potential to capture economic values beyond energy generation is substantial.