HYDRO 2018: Progress through Partnerships
World hydro community meets in Gdansk for discussions to advance global hydropower development
Monday 15 October: HYDRO 2018 opened in Gdansk, Poland with opening addresses from senior officers of ICOLD, UNIDO, the International Energy Agency, the World Bank, the Polish Hydropower Association, and Small Hydropower Association.
This event is the 25th annual Europe-based Hydro event to be organized by Aqua~Media; in her opening welcome message, Aqua~Media Director Alison Bartle noted that delegations from about 75 nations were present, including all the leading countries around the world for hydropower development.
She reported on the current role and prospects for hydropower worldwide, and previewed the 36 conference sessions.
Preceding the main conference, two important side events took place on Sunday 14 October:
• the Third Round Table for Large Hydro Plant Operators, led by Itaipu Binacional, with participant from the operators of schemes such as Yacyreta, Three Gorges, Cahora Bassa, and others; and,
• the next in the well established and popular training courses on small hydro, where participants learn in one day how to design a mini hydro scheme.
As always the financial community was well represented at the conference, with representatives of the World Bank, various national development banks and private finance providers as well as financial consultants and experts from the academic world. Luciano Canale of the World Bank gave a talk in which he demonstrated the Bank’s upscaling of support for hydropower, describing hydro as “top of our agenda” in terms of the Bank’s support for renewable energy. Canale also referred to the World Bank’s recently launched new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF4), which focused on a broader range of aspects.
Rana Pratap Singh gave details of how UNIDO could partner with organizations around the world to support small hydro initiatives.
The location of the conference in Gdansk facilitated participation from eastern Europe and Central Asia, and delegations were present from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, among others.
In the light of extreme climatic events in the past year, which have caused devastation in several regions of the world, including to some water infrastructure, climate resilience and flood management are topics which are high on the agenda, along with various sessions on safety of dams, spillways and powerplants.
In line with the theme of the conference, Progress through Partnerships, there was a session devoted to cross-border collaboration, as well as a session on multipurpose hydro which had presentations on multi-national development of major waterways.
Much focus was given to advancing hydropower development in the less developed countries, and the programme included presentations from a total of 14 African countries and 12 Asian countries, as well as a session dedicated to capacity building and training.
A major technical exhibition ran concurrently with the conference, with about 200 companies in the hydropower and dam engineering profession showcasing their latest activities, and their areas of expertise.
Over three days, representatives of ministries and utilities, powerplant owners and operators, planners, researchers, civil engineers, electromechanical machinery specialists, financiers, academics and environmental and social scientists pooled their expertise, with the common aim of advancing hydropower development in the areas of the world where it is needed most, and also ensuring that existing hydropower stations are operated efficiently and maintained effectively.
A full report of the outcomes of the conference will appear in the next issue of Hydropower & Dams.