Itaipu Binacional becomes first Brazilian company trained on Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol

11 April 2012

Itaipu Binacional is the first organisation in Brazil to receive training in this new sustainability assessment tool as the number of Protocol trainings and assessments taking place globally gathers pace.

The week long training, which took place at the Recanto Park Hotel, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil was facilitated by Douglas Smith and Simon Howard, iha Sustainability Specialists.

“The Protocol, a tool to guide sustainability in the sector, provides a common language around which issues of sustainability can be discussed and understood, and training with multiple stakeholders like this contributes significantly to the process.” explained Smith.

Joining 22 Itaipu Binacional employees were representatives from Eletrobras, the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, Cepel Energy Research, and the Colombian energy company ISAGEN.

Itaipu Binacional, with 20 generator units (700MW each) totalling 14,000MW of installed power, is jointly owned and operated by Brazil and Paraguay, supplying around 17% of Brazil’s energy and around 73% of Paraguay’s energy needs.

"The two main objectives of Itaipu in becoming an IHA Sustainability Partner are to study the use of the Protocol as part of our corporate sustainability management system and to support the Protocol process. The training was a key component of both objectives, giving Itaipu's important stakeholders a clear view of the demands and complexities of the Protocol and, therefore, the commitments necessary for its application,” commented Ricardo Krauskopf Neto, Executive Technical Director Assistance Branch, Itaipu Binacional. “It also gave external stakeholders significant insight into the importance of this assessment tool for Brazil and for the development of sustainable hydropower throughout the world."

The training of Itaipu Binacional staff paves the way for an official Protocol assessment due to take place later this year.

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (Protocol), a comprehensive tool to assess the sustainability of hydropower projects globally, provides a rigorous, evidence-based assessment of between 19-23 relevant sustainability topics, depending on the development stage of the project. These topics include issues such as downstream flow regimes, indigenous peoples, biodiversity, infrastructure safety, resettlement, water quality, and erosion and sedimentation.

It is the product of a rigorous multi-stakeholder development process involving representatives from social and environmental NGOs (Oxfam, The Nature Conservancy, Transparency International, WWF); governments (China, Germany [as an observer], Iceland, Norway, Zambia); commercial and development banks (including banks that are signatory to the Equator Principles, and the World Bank [as an observer]); and the hydropower sector, represented by IHA.

The development process of the Protocol involved field trials in 16 countries, across 6 continents, and stakeholder engagement with 1,933 individuals in 28 countries.

Implementation of the Protocol in the European Union is supported through Hydro4LIFE, a European Commission funded project, under the European Commission’s Life+ Environment Policy and Governance programme. Hydro4LIFE will demonstrate the Protocol in the EU, raise awareness about the Protocol and serve to consolidate hydropower sustainability performance knowledge.

Eleven international organisations and companies, including Itaipu Binacional, have already become early adopters by agreeing to implement the Protocol in at least one hydropower project within their sphere of influence. Known as IHA Sustainability Partners these are: edf, E.ON, GDF Suez, Itaipu Binacional, hydro-equipment-association, Hydro Tasmania, Landsvirkjun, Manitoba Hydro, Odebrecht, Sarawak Energy, and Statkraft.

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