Hydropower Sustainability Fund opens to grant applicants


Hydropower project developers and operators can apply for funding to for an independent assessment of a project’s sustainability performance.

With hydropower still the largest source of installed renewable energy capacity on Earth, the Hydropower Sustainability Fund has opened up a fourth round for grant applications to help the sector enhance its wider sustainability. 

As renewable energy capacity scales up globally, project developers and operators are tasked with ensuring that electricity generation does not come at the expense of unsustainable impacts on local communities or the environment.

As a result, a sustainability fund backed by the Swiss government – and supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and the Hydropower Sustainability Council – was created to help companies to assess their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.

The fund is now (February 2022) open to applications from projects in over 40 countries across the world – primarily developing nations. Projects of all sizes and at any stage of development can apply for the funding to help conduct an independent assessment using an international recognised and sector-specific ESG tool.

The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG) assesses performance across twelve aspects including biodiversity, cultural heritage, climate change mitigation and resilience, and water quality. This assessment is used to gain certification.

João Costa, Head of Sustainability at the International Hydropower Association (IHA), said: “The HESG Assessment Fund was established to make sustainability assessments accessible to all hydropower projects. Our goal is to help hydropower developers in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas benchmark and raise their social and environmental performance.”

This initiative is funded by the Swiss Government’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and is now in its fourth round of funding after recently issuing grants across six countries in Africa and South America.

The latest call for proposals is open to projects from: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, Rwanda, Serbia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.