Session 2.4: Sustainability Lessons in Hydropower, Offshore Wind, and Pacific Utilities

May 22nd, 2019

Presenters in this session will examine efforts to make hydropower more sustainable, including improved basin planning and management, and the study of environmental flows (EFlows) as a way of mitigating the effects of human developments on rivers and estuaries, and thus managing water resources for long-term sustainability. The session will also include discussion of how Asian countries can leverage their “second mover advantage” when developing their offshore wind energy potential by building on European experiences from early generation, and on efforts to improve the sustainability of state-owned utilities in the Pacific region.

Moderator: Aiming Zhou, Principal Energy Specialist, ADB


How Renewables Can Optimize Water-Energy-Food Tradeoffs in the Mekong Basin
Brian Eyler, Director, Southeast Asia Program, Stimson Center

Through deepening solar, wind, and biomass contributions to power mixes in the countries of the Mekong Basin and rethinking how hydropower and cross-border power trade are positioned to meet regional power demand needs, it is possible to achieve a low-impact, low-carbon, and low-cost energy transition AND to conserve the natural resource base of the Mighty Mekong River. This presentation will demonstrate decision-making tools and policy pathways for system-scale energy planning and tradeoff analyses at the basin-wide scope, which should be used to deliver this transition. Brian Eyler will draw on the ongoing findings of the Mekong Basin Connect program, a collaboration between UC Berkeley's Energy Resources Group, IUCN, and the Stimson Center.

The Use of EFlows Assessment Outputs in Basin-Planning and Optimisation of Dam Operating Rules
Alison Joubert, Senior Consultant, Southern Waters

Environmental Flows (EFlows) are a vital way of mitigating the effects of human developments on rivers and estuaries, and thus for managing water resources for long-term sustainability. Modern EFlows assessment methods, based on ecosystem-modelling approaches, address the complexity of river ecosystems and their responses to infrastructure projects for development. For any considered scenario, they can provide quantitative estimates of a range of environmental indicators and offer possible options for biodiversity offsets and other mitigation. Quantified or semi-quantified information such as this has only become available to developers and decision-makers in the last decade or so, and is currently being used to guide development and restoration initiatives in rivers across Central and Southeast Asia. Using regional examples, the presentation will illustrate the scope of the EFlows assessments undertaken, the kinds of information provided, and the different uses made of the information generated in project-specific and basin-wide development planning and restoration initiatives.

Lesson Learned: The Operation of Community-based Micro-Hydro Power of Wangan Aji
Chayun Budiono, Energy Expert, PT Gerbang Multindo Nusantara

Community participation is a key factor for sustainable clean energy deployment. Micro-Hydro Power (MHP) built in Wangan Aji is a success story of community-based clean energy implementation in Indonesia. Wangan Aji was constructed as run-of-river plant, utilizing the irrigation channel of Wangan Aji, Wonosobo, Central Java Province. It consists of 2 (two) propeller turbines with capacity of 70 kW, each. Under its Poverty and Environment Program (PEP) Asian Development Bank (ADB) has assisted the Government of Indonesia to implement MHP Wangan Aji as a pilot intervention.

Using the Second-Mover Advantage: How Asia Could Leverage a Decade of European Offshore Wind Developments
Paul Elsner, Dr, Birkbeck, University of London

Offshore wind energy is maturing quickly and on the verge of becoming one of the most competitive renewable energy technologies. European projects in the North and Baltic Seas have pioneered the industry, and the learning curve has been steep. Progress in project management and spatial marine planning approaches have led to substantial drops in both CAPEX and OPEX. Of central importance in this context is the identification of the best wind resources and to link this data to other relevant parameters such as bathymetry, sea bed condition, distance to terrestrial grid connections and potential conflicts with other marine uses such as shipping and fishing. This talk will illustrate how Asian countries could leverage their “second mover advantage” when developing their offshore wind energy potential by building on European experiences from early generation projects.

A Paradigm Shift for Sustainable Energy in the Pacific
Llyr Rowlands, Director, Energy Infrastructure, Tetra Tech

As large sums are invested in renewable power in the Pacific, the sustainability of these investments is uncertain if the viability of state-owned enterprise (SOE) power utilities is not assured. ADB is assisting utility companies in the Pacific by conducting a comprehensive diagnostic review of their operations and the environment in which the utility operates. The review covers financial management and accounting, operational procedures, maintenance practices, customer billing systems; as well as external factors, such as SOE governance, regulation, and relevant government policies. From our work in the seven utilities in four Pacific countries to date, we are finding that the Pacific utilities have developed over the years under a variety of misguided (if well-intentioned) government mandates, inappropriate governance and management structures, and regulations and tariff policies that are out of step with what is needed for sustainability and commercial viability. The need for a dramatic shift in paradigm is abundantly clear.