The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has become the world’s first hydropower operator to obtain green bond certification using newly released criteria, the International Hydropower Association (IHA) has announced.

ICE is to use the bond to refinance debt acquired for the construction of the Reventazón Hydropower Plant, which was built between 2010 and 2016 using funds from the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), and the European Investment Bank. 

The Climate Bonds Standard's Hydropower Criteria, developed by the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), provide a screening tool for investments in sustainable hydropower projects. Certification for hydropower has been formally available for issuers of green debt products across all markets since March 2021. 

“Well done to ICE on the Reventazón Hydropower Plant receiving the first CBI certificated hydropower climate bond awarded to sustainable hydropower,” commented Eddie Rich, Chief Executive at IHA. “These challenging hydropower criteria for environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and carbon emissions are aligned with the newly launched Hydropower Sustainability Standard. 

“The recent San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower adopted by hundreds of hydropower stakeholders states that ‘Going forward the only acceptable hydropower is sustainable hydropower’. Projects like Reventazón show the way.”  

The Hydropower Criteria were developed through a CBI Technical Working Group that included representation from the International Hydropower Association (IHA), WWF, among other organisations, which were reviewed by an Industry Working Group and underwent a public consultation process in 2019-2020.