Hydro Tasmania welcomes IHA for world first

12 October 2011

Hydro Tasmania has hosted a contingent of international visitors to conduct a world first sustainability assessment of the Trevallyn Power Station.

The unofficial assessment is the world’s first publicly available example using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, which was launched internationally in June 2011. As the protocol’s systems for use are still being developed the assessors are still being trained, which meant this assessment was classed as an unofficial assessment.

History of the protocol

The Protocol is the product of a 2½ year multi-stakeholder collaboration known as the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Forum, on which Andrew Scanlon - Hydro Tasmania’s Manager Sustainability & Safety - was an industry representative and Helen Locher - Hydro Tasmania’s Principle Consultant Sustainability - was the coordinator whilst on secondment to the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

Since finalisation, Hydro Tasmania has been supporting the IHA in awareness-raising, capacity building, training and implementation of the Protocol, in part through its role as an IHA Sustainability Partner.

The assessment 

  • The assessment evaluated the sustainability of operations of the Trevallyn Power Station using a structured and internationally consistent assessment methodology, and identified opportunities for improvement.
  • A Protocol unofficial sustainability assessment report and profile is being produced to be made publicly available by the Protocol Management entity for interested stakeholders to see the methodology and product of a protocol assessment.
  • The assessment provided a capacity building opportunity for the Protocol governance committee (the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council), the IHA, Hydro Tasmania and Entura staff in application of the Protocol.

The assessment team was led by Dr Bernt Rydgren of Åf Infrastructure from Sweden, included Dr Joerg Hartmann, from WWF and Chairman of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, and Doug Smith, IHA Sustainability Specialist. Andrew Scanlon was client for the assessment and Helen Locher the coordinator of the planning team.  

There were a number of international and in-house observers as part of the capacity- building commitment.  International observers were:

Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council members:

  • Karin Seelos, Statkraft, Norway
  • Dr Jian-hua Meng, World Wildlife Fund, Germany
  • David Harrison, The Nature Conservancy, USA
  • Dr Donal O’Leary, Transparency International, Germany

IHA staff:

  • Cameron Ironside, IHA Programme Director, UK
  • Simon Howard, IHA Sustainability Specialist, UK

Other interested hydropower companies:

  • Michelle Archer, Mighty River Power, New Zealand

The assessment began with a site visit on 2 October, followed by two days of interviews in Launceston and three days in Hobart. These interviews covered a diversity of governance, technical, environmental, social, financial and economic considerations set out in the Protocol’s operations assessment tool.

Scores were assigned for each of the Protocol’s sustainability topics to highlight areas of strength and opportunities for improvement against international expectations of good practice.  A close-out briefing was provided for Hydro Tasmania staff on 7 October. The assessment team spoke highly of Hydro Tasmania, stating that our ‘culture of direct and easy communication with highly committed staff created an extremely pleasurable experience for everyone’.

Dr Rydgren commented on the high quality of resources and presentations made in an open environment.

The final report will provide an example to the global community of the product of a Protocol assessment and will be used as part of the IHA’s training course for its Sustainability Partners. It will also highlight Hydro Tasmania’s work in planning for the Trevallyn assessment and provide a useful model to share on the international stage.

You can find our more about the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol at www.hydrosustainability.org and the IHA at www.hydropower.org. You can view a set of photos of the visit via the IHA's flickr account.