Image credit: Hydro Review

A sustainability fund to help hydropower developers and operators assess their environmental, social and government (ESG) performance is now open to more than forty countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Assessment Fund will award a total of 1 million Swiss Francs ($1.02 million) to 40 or more hydropower projects over four years.

The initiative is managed by the International Hydropower Association’s (IHA) non-profit sustainability division and funded by the Swiss government’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

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Recipients will receive a grant to part sponsor the cost of commissioning an independent project assessment using the Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG), one of the internationally recognised  Hydropower Sustainability Tools.

Joao Costa, Head of Sustainability at IHA, said: “This fund aims to increase the number of sustainability assessments globally and advance the development of climate-friendly sustainable hydropower.”

The grant will co-finance independent assessors, who are accredited by IHA and a multi-stakeholder governance council, to carry out an assessment using the HESG. The assessment involves a site visual inspection and interviews with stakeholders and concludes with an official report and a gap management plan.

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Following the first call for proposals in 2020, the fund part sponsored six assessments, including the Stortemelk project in South Africa. The 4.3MW run-of-river plant developed by Stortemelk Hydro, a subsidiary of Renewable Energy Holdings (REH), achieved global good practice across 10 environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance criteria in the independent assessment.

Projects under preparation and development, as well as those already in operation, are all eligible for the grant. Applicants will need to demonstrate a strong track record or commitment to sustainability and show that their project aligns with national or regional development policies.

Hydropower project developers and operators can apply before May 2021 deadline.

The second call for proposals is now open and a sum of CHF 350,000 ($392 896) will be awarded to 14 projects from the following countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, Rwanda, Serbia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Download the Call for Proposals

Originally published on esi-africa.com