Since its inception in 1994, the International Centre for Hydropower has helped promote the development and utilisation of hydro throughout the world. Line Fjellvær talks to IWPDC about the organisation’s future objectives and aims
The International Centre for Hydropower (ICH) is a worldwide association of companies and organisations that are active in all aspects of hydro power generation and supply. Membership is open to all parties involved in the development, implementation and operation of hydro power.
The organisation lists its strategic objectives as the following:
• To raise standards of competence for industry personnel, by organising intensive training courses and publicising information about Master of Science teaching.
• To raise the level of awareness of the benefits of hydro power, by profiling its advantages to the international community, including the relevant authorities.
• To gather and distribute technical, financial, social and environmental knowledge, by acting as a clearing house for information relevant to the hydro power sector, publishing newsletters, fact-sheets and other materials, and maintaining an informative website.
• To act as a showcase for the hydro power industry, by organising seminars, workshops and conferences.
• To promote the industry in general, by offering technical and administrative support for programmes projects and activities run by other organisations.
IWP&DC asked Line Fjellvær, ICH’s Director of Studies, about the organisation’s recent conferences, its training programmes and its hopes for the future.
Q. When was ICH founded, and why?
A.ICH was founded in 1994, initiated by major Norwegian hydro power organisations and companies, with the purpose of promoting the development and utilisation of hydro power as an environmentally benign source of energy throughout the world. The current ICH Director is Tore S. Jørgensen.
Q. Who can be a member of ICH, and how do you apply for membership? Why should you join ICH?
A. We are open for membership to international companies, organisations and public-sector bodies that are involved in development, implementation and operation of hydro power. A membership application form may be downloaded from our website (www.ich.no) or submitted on request from the secretariat in Trondheim, Norway. We hope that joining ICH will contribute in advocating hydro power in a positive manner through cooperation on workshops, conferences and other events.
How is ICH funded?
A. Our funding comes partly through membership fees, but mostly through external financing of services and products, and revenues from conferences. The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) is an important partner through financing of the yearly courses and other activities.
Q. What do you think are the most significant contributions ICH has made to development of the hydro industry?
A. Up to now more than 350 professionals from 43 countries have participated in the core training courses, and nearly 2000 others have attended the major events, so our significance is plain to see.
Q. How many conferences/events does ICH organise every year? Are these normally held in Norway or worldwide?
A. From this year onwards ICH will offer four core courses in Norway annually, and in addition we offer a three month net-based course: The Process of Social Impact Assessment. The physical courses have a duration of one to three weeks, and the topics are: Hydro Power Development and Management; Hydro Power and the Environment; Hydro Power Financing and Project Economy; and Strengthening the Legal Framework for Energy Sector Development. In addition, ICH organises the international Hydropower conference in Norway every fourth year (the latest one was in Stavanger, May 2005), and seminars and workshops in-between. Some of these are organised in other countries in cooperation with local partners.
Examples are the workshop Sediment Management for Successful Hydro Power Development organised jointly with Hydro Lab in Nepal in 2001; the conference Hydro Africa 2003, organised jointly with Tanesco in Arusha, Tanzania in 2003; and the workshop Alleviation of Hyacinth and Silt Problems in Hydro Power Reservoirs, organised jointly with Kafue Gorge Regional Training Centre in Zambia in 2004. All these partners are also members of ICH. Another workshop on Headworks Design in Steep, Sediment-Loaded Rivers took place in Nepal in November 2005, and a 2007 conference on small hydro is planned in Sri Lanka.
The 2nd Hydropower Today conference is being run from 22-25 April this year in Hangzhou, China. By bringing together hydro power developers, policy makers, think tanks, and representatives of the various stakeholders, the conference will provide the platform to discuss, exchange and formulate effective, sustainable hydro power policies, which address the needs of all concerned parties. Top government officials from China’s Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Commerce will be invited to share China’s hydro views and experiences.
Q. What services does ICH offer?
A. ICH issues an electronic newsletter, and operates a comprehensive website with lots of information and news. Currently, ICH is running a training programme on the Planning and Management of Hydropower Resources. Its syllabus is built around the overarching concepts related to the planning, construction and operation of hydro power facilities as part of mixed energy systems as well as multipurpose systems. 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/social issues are central themes, together with legal and institutional framework.
Q. What recent activities has ICH been involved in?
A. ICH has been the Operating Agent for Annex 7: Hydropower Competence Network in Education and Training in the International Energy Agency’s Implementing Agreement for Hydropower Technologies and Programmes. This is a three-year project in partnership with Japan, Sweden and Norway, with the objective of creating a pilot version of an internet-based platform containing the standards, methods and tools necessary to efficiently apply the internet for structured training of personnel in the hydro power sector. The project was completed in April last year, and all the materials are available at www.annex7.iea.org.
Q. How many people work for ICH and what are their backgrounds?
A. The secretariat has two full-time staff with technical and pedagogical backgrounds. A Project Assistant named Yisak Sultan Abdella, a young Ethiopian professional with a Master of Science in Hydro Power Development, has recently strengthened the secretariat. The major human resource of ICH is, however, the highly experienced staff of the member organisations, who are called upon as lecturers and resource persons in courses and other activities.
Q. What is your vision for ICH and where do you see the organisation in five years time?
A. We are currently regionalising our activities at ICH and developing centres of excellence on three continents. We will continue to focus on developing activities of high quality rather than growing as much as possible; our vision is to continue to be a support to ensure that hydro power continues to play an important and sustainable role in the electricity market in the future. We hope that we have further developed our online training and our Hydro Power Competence Network is up and running and used by hydro power professionals all over the world. We will continue to tailor-make study programmes in Europe as well as Asia and Africa and hopefully have developed further in South American countries.
For more information about the International Centre for Hydropower, visit www.ich.no, tel: +47 73 59 07 80, or fax: +47 73 59 07 81
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Alternate Hydro Energy Centre (AHEC)