The 2017 World Hydropower Congress concluded with a series of commitments to better hydro, delivered by a broad range of organisations and institutions that participated in Addis Ababa.
Archana Agrawal, joint secretary, Indian Ministry of Power, led the closing session of the congress with a speech describing the “great and ambitious plans for Africa, the rising giant for hydropower” presented at the congress. She said it would be “a great thing” to witness the sustainable energy transformation of the continent. Representing the African Union Commission (AUC), Cheick Ould Bedda, director of infrastructure and energy, praised “a world class event” and confirmed the commitment of the AUC and all of the African countries towards better hydro.
A series of commitments by organisations followed, beginning with congress organising partner Global Energy Interconnection Development Organization (GEIDCO), represented by Xuming Liang, chief engineer. He confirmed GEIDCO’s commitment to faster implementation of global energy interconnection (GEI), and particularly to improving electrification and building a sustainable energy future for Africa. Antoine Badinier, deputy vice-president of EDF Hydropower Generation & Engineering Division, credited Ethiopia and all of the African countries in their efforts to promote sustainable energy. He explained EDF’s vision of “green and shared growth”, to benefit future generations, and expressed the need to modernise our energy systems: “Our energy is old, we need to change the way we develop it and ensure everyone can benefit from it.”
A commitment from China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) followed, delivered by Lin Chuxue, executive vice president, who declared CTG’s continued commitment to supporting the World Hydropower Congress. He described the company’s commitment to building expertise and capabilities, together with IHA, NGOs and development agencies, to assist African countries in harnessing their water and hydropower resources in a sustainable way. China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co Ltd was represented by Guo Ricai, co-president, who expressed the need to “improve interconnection and boost the construction of cross-continental and national smart grids”, and reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the World Hydropower Congress and the better hydro cause.
Robin Goodman, GE Renewable Energy’s hydro services leader, spoke of the “opportunities to modernise hydro for the better”. He described the company’s commitment to “boosting local capabilities and the sustainability of our industry” through a capacity-building programme, including through a memorandum of understanding the company signed during the congress with Addis Ababa University. The Nature Conservancy was represented by its programme director for Gabon, Marie-Claire Paiz, who described the organisation’s commitment as a “partner to identify and test solutions to clean energy and maintaining healthy rivers”. She reiterated the principle of developing “the right projects, in the right place and in the right way” and described the new tools and approaches being designed to reduce the environmental, social and financial risks at the early stages of hydropower development.
Zhou Xiong, general manager, represented Shandong Electrical Engineering and Equipment Co Ltd, and confirmed his company’s commitment to providing the highest quality products and services to support the energy transition in Africa. He called on the hydropower community to “join hands and work together to achieve the sustainable development of hydro in an interconnected world”. He was followed by Heike Bergmann, senior vice president of Voith Hydro, who stressed the need to “work together on this future”. She described Voith’s commitment to “engage more in helping solve challenges and build infrastructure in Africa”, and finished by stating that “we are for a better world and better hydro implementation – that is our commitment”.
Linus Mofor from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) said that “better hydro will play a key role in the structural transformation we are promoting for Africa” and called for climate resilience to be fully integrated into better hydro. Gabriel Azevedo delivered commitments on behalf of the Inter-American Investment Corpration (IIC), describing the need for solid partnerships. He reminded delegates that “stakeholders that used to fear us are now our partners, committed to delivering better hydro together”. He concluded by calling on the hydropower community to “commit to the development of better hydro not as an objective but as a means to contribute to a better and more sustainable world for future generations”.
Other commitments came on behalf of the WWF and Eranove. Ken Adams, president of IHA, closed the session and announced the launch of the Better Hydro Compendium of Case Studies 2017, a collection of examples of good practice in sustainable hydropower. He said that “the Better Hydro compendium shows it can be done well, it can be done right” and described how the exchanges of the past few days “show we’re doing our part to tackle the huge challenges ahead of us, and we will continue to do so”.
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