Hydropower, the most mature of all renewable technologies, holds tremendous promise in helping to fulfill surging global demand for electricity and in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. It can help connect the unconnected with reliable and modern electricity for the first time, lighting up the darkness so children can do schoolwork at night, entrepreneurs can start a new business, and women can feel safe returning home from a day’s work. It can power the machinery of economic opportunity and innovation. And it can enable a cleaner and more equitable future. That’s why IFC invests in hydropower as an important part of our $7 billion energy portfolio. As a leading global financier of renewables, we have funded hydropower projects with a collective generation capacity of more than 8 gigawatts, along with a growing portfolio of investments in other renewables sectors, such as wind and solar. Over the years, we have learned that the economic benefits of hydropower projects need to be weighed carefully against complex environmental and social considerations. Hydropower projects can be located in environmentally sensitive areas with significant impacts related to physical and economic displacement of communities. Examples of projects that have struggled to mitigate all these risks are well known. Learning from these experiences, growing evidence shows how meaningful community engagement and strong community relations can make a real difference in helping hydro projects achieve their intended business and development results. Current good practice includes several factors to secure and maintain constructive community relations: appropriate risk assessments, project siting, management of environmental
and social impacts, transparent and respectful company behavior, and distribution of benefits. This Report Series is focused on the latter—local benefits —and on sharing the lessons learned from hydropower projects around the world. The reports—a collection of case studies, good practices, and guidance—contribute to the existing knowledge base, given that benefit-sharing practices in the sector are relatively new and continue to evolve. The information provided is grounded in extensive research and based on the experiences of public and private developers as they implemented benefit-sharing programs.