Gaining through training

17 February 2009

The International Centre for Hydropower (ICH) was established in 1995 as a hydro power portal in Norway. Its main focus is to raise standards of competence for industry personnel in both developed and developing countries. Carole M Rosenlund gives an overview of ICH’s current course programme

The international-centre-for-hydropower (ICH) acts as a joint international forum for industry and institutions in the field of hydro power and related areas. The centre supports the hydro power industry by gathering, developing and marketing know-how on environmental, social, technological, economic and administrative aspects of hydro.

Its objective is to act as a showcase for and to promote the industry in general by organising courses, workshops and conferences. The current programme consists of the following six courses.

1) Hydropower Development and Management

The Planning and Management of Hydropower Resources in the Context of Integrated Water Resources Management – 3 week course

The objective of the course is to provide participants with the knowledge of the fundamentals of planning and management of hydro power resources development, in the setting of integrated water resources management as well as part of mixed energy systems. By focusing on both theoretical and practical issues, course participants will be able to contribute more effectively in the management of energy resources in their own organisation/country.

The course deals with questions related to current international trends with regard to the restructuring of the power sector where economic/financial questions and environmental issues are central themes together with legal and institutional framework.

Theoretical input is illustrated and emphasised through field trips to various catchments and projects in the middle and southern part of Norway. Executives and middle management personnel from power companies, ministries, private and public agencies will benefit from this course.

2) Hydropower and the Environment

Management of Environmental and Social Aspects of Hydropower Development – 3 week course

Aimed at senior professionals who deal with environmental issues in hydro power and dam projects, or those that influence project planning, this course introduces participants to procedures that should be followed in order to comply with today’s requirements for good environmental planning. The international financing of hydro depends on this, and the well being of millions of people relies on it.

Participants learn how Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are typically organised and carried out through the concept of Adaptive Environmental Assessment and Management (AEAM). As a result they become better prepared to analyse results and identify proper mitigating measures. The focus is on pro-active planning of hydro power developments as part of integrated watershed management to ensure sustainable utilisation of natural resources.

Special attention is given to social and cultural issues and the effects of hydro power on vegetation, aquatic and terrestrial wildlife as well as issues related to sediment transport. Theoretical input is likewise illustrated and emphasised through field trips to various catchments and projects in the middle and southern part of Norway.

3) Hydropower Financing and Project Economy

Meeting the Challenges of Financing Hydropower Projects in Liberalised Markets – 1 week course

Hydropower Financing and Project Management (HFPE) aspires to provide participants with insights into a variety of financing models for hydro power projects looking at both private and public requirements and solutions. Participants are introduced to the concepts necessary in the assessment a hydro projects economic viability, with an emphasis on the challenges of a liberalised energy sector.

The course focuses on project financing and the role of energy in a country’s economy as well as legal and institutional framework. The planning process of a project, with emphasis on the economic and financial considerations and assessments, are elaborated. Environmental and social considerations and risk analyses are also introduced.

The course is aimed at management personnel and executives with responsibilities in the planning and decision process of hydro power projects on a national/regional or company level. A technical or an economic background is relevant.

4) Contractual and Legal Aspects in Hydropower Development

Enhancing the Development of Hydropower through Efficient Management System – 1 week course

Considering today’s challenges faced by agencies and professionals dealing with water resources and energy legislation, political and commercial trends, this course is aimed at decision makers and executive management personnel from public agencies, ministries and power companies that are, or soon will be, dealing with water management and energy related questions.

The main objective of the course is to provide the participants with an updated knowledge of how to create workable management systems based on the legislation that exists or is evolving, or is developed as part of bilateral institutional cooperation. The focus is on the intermingled challenges of developing, at the same time, the necessary legal framework, the institutional development, the hydro and energy development/management and the parallel process of creating skilled key personnel who are capable of managing the legal regime in an efficient manner.

The course focuses on improving the management of the legislation through harmonising overlaps in the policy, regulatory and operational functions of public institutions. An efficient management of legal framework will also support the financing of hydro power developments, by avoiding legislative obstacles that hamper financial solutions.

5) Social Impact Assessment course

(Online training programme for sound Social Impact Assessment processes)

The SIA (Social Impact Assessment) course introduces participants to procedures that should be followed in order to comply with today’s requirements for a sound social impact assessment process, including strategic priorities and national guidelines. It will also help to provide tools for planning hydro power and other water-related projects in the best possible way on a national, regional and local level.

The course is tailor-made for distance learning on-line. The complete course consists of 13 modules, estimated at five hours workload per module. Each module should be completed within a week; ie the normal course duration is 13 weeks.

To complete the course, participation in discussions as well as written exercises must be completed and a course diploma is issued upon completion. The course is aimed at power companies, authorities, NGOs, relevant private enterprises and others working with development of resources requiring a structured knowledge process. It is required that course participants for SIA should have a relevant university education, a minimum five years of working experience in the water resource sector, moderate computer skills, good command of the English language and access to a computer and an email account.

6) Electricity Regulatory Initiative Seminar - ELRI

ELRI is a training programme for regulators, primarily from developing countries. Organisers are the Norwegian regulator (NVE) in cooperation with ICH. The 2008 seminar was the sixth in the series. Previous seminars have been attended by participants from a number of regulatory institutions in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Intended for executives of power companies, ministries, water resource and energy agencies, and relevant private sector enterprises with management responsibility, the ELRI course is also of value to engineers interested in developing their career within power markets.

This course aims to introduce participants to the key features and experience with power sector reform in the Nordic power market, details the different regulatory systems used in the Nordic power market and examines the relevance of these experiences to electricity industries in developing countries.

Towards the end of the course, a panel discussion of senior figures in the Norwegian power sector is arranged to answer participants’ questions and a special topic addresses the implications of independent power producers for poverty in developing countries.

New courses

ICH is continuously developing new courses for the benefit of the industry. Topics for these courses are based on feedback from course participants and surveys conducted in several countries. The latest additions to the 2009/2010 portfolio are courses on:

• Dam safety – An introduction to the inspection of dams and hydraulic structures with a focus on how to identify deficiencies that may affect safety both in the long and short term. The course is aimed at participants from government agencies, dam operators and dam owners.

• Risk Management – to be introduced in the 2010 course programme.

• Small Hydro – scheduled for 2010.

• Negotiation techniques – The course concerns the art of negotiating contracts related to hydro power developments. Numerous cases during recent years have shown that this is a topic necessary for many developing countries in particular in order to reduce the gap of skills when meeting very professional and skilled negotiators from law firms, contractors and financial institutions.

• Condition Monitoring and Maintenance Planning of Turbines – These courses cover Francis, Pelton and Kaplan Turbines, are part web-based (online) and designed for management and technical staff at existing power plants. To be launched this year.

Future plans

The international-centre-for-hydropower is looking to continue developing its current course programmes and to introduce new courses that will benefit the industry significantly.

This October, ICH has organised a regional training programme for Central America in Guatemala and a new course will be offered again next year. It is hoped to regionalise ICH activities in Central America as well as in Africa.

Together with the GTIEA secretariat (Greening the Tea Industry in Eastern Africa) in Kenya and the Kafue Gorge Regional Training Centre(KGRTC) in Zambia, ICH has prepared a project proposal for Norad that contains a four-year training programme for small hydro development and operation in the tea industry in eight Eastern African countries. ICH is also keen to develop similar training projects in cooperation with companies and authorities in Tanzania as well as other African countries.

Carole M. Rosenlund is responsible for the e-learning systems and online turbine series of courses at the International Centre for Hydropower. Please visit for more information or email:

Other activities

Regularly updated development plans form the basis of ICH’s activities and priorities. Over the years it has also been engaged in:
• Secretariat and project management for the International Energy Association’s Implementing Agreement for Hydropower Technologies and Programmes; Annex V: Education and Training (four-year project with Japan, Sweden, Norway)
• Project management for the three-year extension of IEA’s Hydropower Agreement in the new Annex VII: Hydropower Competence Network in Education and Training (Japan, Sweden, Norway)
• The implementation of a five-year development plan for a hydraulic laboratory in Kathmandu, Nepal. ICH was a Norwegian partner, in cooperation with NTNU, sponsored by Norad.
• International networking – ICH also works with the International Hydropower Association (IHA); International Network on Small Hydropower, China (IN-SHP); International Association for Small Hydro (India); and the European Small Hydro Association (ESHA).

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