Social, Environment and Economic Issues


The hydro sector is at a cross roads. On the one hand, hydro, as a cleaner / carbon low impact source of energy, will be in demand to meet increasing energy needs in the 21st century. There is a wide consensus on the relevance and potential for hydro in the 21st century. On the other hand, several studies and reviews have highlighted the economic, social and environmental limitations of several hydro projects. This questioning has increased the challenges to build new dams; the social license to design, build and operate hydro power has become a central issue for many companies. Several key industry players have developed new standards, procedures and practices to address these issues.  Therefore, there is an increasing recognition that “getting it right” in the integration of social, economic and environmental dimensions of dams is a necessary condition for hydro power operations.


This seminar will focus on current social and environmental issues in the Hydro sector. It does so by building on an understanding of the diversity of various settings; it aims at learning from relevant experiences of hydro power design, construction and exploitation so as to reflect on current practices and envision possibilities. Through this seminar, participants will (1) develop an awareness of key social and environmental issues related to hydro development and exploitation in a global context; (2) gain a deeper understanding of work and processes related to successful management of social, environmental, and economic issues; (3) be exposed to existing global social and environmental standards and frameworks; and (4) become more aware of the relevance of their own skills in addressing these challenges. 

The pedagogy is based on in-depth / documented case studies on the degrees and forms of integration of social, environmental and economic dimensions in hydro power design, construction and exploitation. The seminar is based on the active involvement from the participants and during in-class discussions. Participants are exposed to relevant frameworks and are invited to apply these frameworks to the case studies and discussions.

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