With climate change, flood protection provided by dams will be ever more important.
Prague (July 5 2017)
Climate change is impacting the variability of water resources with more severe and frequent droughts and/or more flood. To lessen the consequences of those events, Dams and Reservoirs are the most efficient solution. That is adaptation. For example, Dams are an essential tool for protecting the populations against the disastrous floods, like those affecting the Czech Republic in 2002 and 2013 with terrible consequences.
Climate change also makes urgent the need to develop clean (carbon-free) energies to meet growing needs for power. Fortunately, solar and wind energies are becoming competitive and will be largely developed, provided there is enough energy storage to compensate for their intermittence. The only solution available today for massive storage at a reasonable price is to use reservoirs associated with pumped power stations. Hydropower is also a clean energy in itself. That is mitigation.
Dam Failure in Brazil
The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) is following the situation very closely as information becomes available about the collapse of the mine tailings dam in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
ICOLD President Michael F. Rogers made the following statement:
“Our deepest condolences go out to the people of Brazil impacted by this tragedy, especially those families who have lost loved ones and personal property in this disaster.
It will be important to understand the full cause of this failure so that important lessons may be shared with other nations and owners to prevent future dam failures.
Dams, including those structures design specifically to hold mine tailings are critical investments in our social economies for infrastructure and economic businesses. Like other large investments in infrastructure or business, dams provide essential services and also pose high risks that must be addressed during the planning, design, construction, operation and closure phases. The precautionary principle of dams – both those that retain water as well as those that retain mine tailings – is to provide a safe environment to those who live downstream. This is at the heart of the ICOLD Mission.
ICOLD has more than 90 years of experience in working with worldwide experts to develop state of practice guidelines and case histories for lessons learned on the design, construction, operation and closure of dams. As an example, ICOLD has a draft Bulletin #181 on a technology update on Tailings Dam Design, which will be released later this year. After approval by the General Assembly during the 87th Annual Meeting in Ottawa.
National governments are urged to consider active participation in ICOLD to stay abreast of the most current technology of dam engineering, including the use of up-to-date ICOLD best-practice documents to support dam safety legislation.
As an organization of 100 nations committed to the safety of dams around the world, ICOLD stands ready to assist and support the project owner and the national dam safety organization in Brazil to assess the situation and work towards recovery. ICOLD stands ready to collaborate with other Brazilian and international organizations such as the International Council on Mining and Metals to review the safety criteria for tailings dams to see if the current failure identifies necessary changes or updates to our practices, including the need to address the specific upstream construction method employed at the Brumadinho Tailings Dam.
I believe that safety is a moral obligation of each engineer and scientist that participates in the planning, design, construction, operation and closure of all dams. This is an obligation by the absolute trust given by those downstream residents who are at risk imposed by the impoundment of water or mine tailings.
Again, our heartfelt condolences go out to the thousands of persons downstream of this dam that have been impacted by this tragedy and ICOLD stands ready to support Brazil in any way possible.”
Emmanuel Grenier, media manager
Tel: +33 147 04 17 80
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The Congress will take place in Vienna 1-8 July 2018
(Paris, June 14th)
ICOLD General Assembly, during the 84th Annual meeting in Johannesburg, has voted to choose the four questions on which scientists and engineers from all over the world will work and communicate in Vienna.
This will be the 26th Congress of ICOLD. Those Congresses take place every three years and attract the best dam specialists. The attendance for those Congresses is between 1200 and 2000 people.
The deadlines for submitting a paper or a communication is 8 November 2017.
According to ICOLD Constitution and By-Laws, papers can be only submitted through one of the ICOLD National Committees.
Find here (pdf file) the exact wording of the Questions, as adopted by the General Assembly and a general presentation of ICOLD.
Press Contact: Emmanuel Grenier, media manager
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A new three-year long EU funded project has recently started, it aims to gather input from the European hydropower community in order to agree upon common Research and Innovation priorities for the sector in Europe.
According to the International Hydropower Association (IHA), Hydropower remains the single largest source of renewable electricity across Europe, generating an estimated 600 TWh of clean electricity in 2017, about 12% of Europe’s electricity generation. Hydropower is one of the resources with the highest potential to help achieve Global Climate targets as well as to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals declared by UN. Hydropower already supports integration of wind and solar energy into the supply grid through flexibility in generation as well as its potential for storage capacity. With more than 30% of hydropower potential still untapped, this clean source of energy has all the characteristics to serve as an excellent catalyst for a successful energy transition. The project seeks to address the challenges ahead to fulfil this potential in Europe.
HYDROPOWER EUROPE is a multipartner initiative supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme. The main objectives of the project are:
- To provide a forum for the entire European hydropower community: industry, research, policy makers, end users and academia, active throughout its value-chain;
- To define a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (R&IA) and a Technology Roadmap (TR) that aim to help guide funding authorities and particularly the European Commission to prioritise support where it is most needed so as to adapt the sector to the constantly evolving energy system
Consultation through a series of online and face to face meetings, including regional workshops, will be undertaken to develop the research and innovation agenda and technology roadmap.
During the first meeting of the project in December in Brussels, Anton Schleiss, honorary president of ICOLD said: “We are thrilled by the new opportunity this project offers the hydropower community in Europe, our responsibility towards our sector is very high. We have the task to bring a multitude of actors together and bring their voice to the european level so as to make our contribution to the energy transition, for which hydropower in Europe can be a catalyst.”
The action gathers a wide range of european and international partners, which will allow for the full involvement of the hydropower community in Europe and beyond:
The coordinator is ICOLD, the International Commission on Large Dams with his regional club Europe;
The other partners are:
- EASE, the European Association for Storage of Energy
- EREF, the European Renewable Energy Federation
- EUREC, the Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres
- IHA, the International Hydropower Association
- SAMUI, which brings expertise in water / environmental research, and communication and dissemination
- VGB PowerTech, the international technical association for generation and storage of power and heat
- ZABALA, expert in energy-related platforms as well as project dissemination and communication.
For more information contact: www.hydropower-europe.eu
ZABALA Innovation Consulting - Project Communication Responsible: José Trindade + 32 483 71 85 36
ICOLD representative: Jean-Jacques Fry +33 6 70 70 16 37
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Extreme floods are regularly making news headlines and again recently in Nigeria or India. As the main professional organization on dams, ICOLD is of course very concerned about the implications of floods for dams security. The last technical bulletin (#142) just published by ICOLD is precisely dealing with the safe passage of extreme floods.
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Dam Failure in Laos
The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) is following the situation very closely as information is just coming out about the collapse of the saddle dam at the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy Hydroelectric Dam, in Laos.
ICOLD newly elected President Michael Rogers made the following statement:
“Our deepest condolences go out to the people of Laos impacted by this tragedy, especially those families who have lost loved ones and/or their homes.
Dams are critical pieces of not only physical, but also socio-economic infrastructure that supply renewable power, storage for agricultural, industrial, municipal and community water supply. Like other large infrastructure in our societies, dams provide critical service, but also pose high risks that must be addressed during the planning, design and construction phases. The precautionary principle of dams to prevent and/or mitigate adverse downstream safety consequences informs and is at the heart of the ICOLD Mission.
ICOLD has been working for 90 years to promote the safe and sustainable design and construction of dams. As an organization of 100 nations committed to the safety of all dams around the world, ICOLD stands ready to assist and support the project owner and the national dam safety organization in Laos to assess the situation and work towards recovery. Moving forward, it will be important to understand the full cause of this apparent failure so that important lessons may be shared with other nations and dam owners. This is the heart of ICOLD mission and the main reason why it was founded. For example, during its recent Congress in Vienna (July 1-7 2018), ICOLD organized an important open workshop on the lessons learned from the Oroville Spillway Incident (USA, 2017).
Again, our heartfelt condolences go out to the thousands of persons downstream of this dam that have been impacted by this tragedy and ICOLD stands ready to support Laos in any way possible.”
Large Dams for Africa
Africa is now the new land of opportunity for dams’ development. After the very successful ICOLD Annual Meeting in Johannesburg (South Africa), last June, ICOLD prepares Africa 2017, next March in Marrakech (Morocco).
Africa is now the new land of opportunity for dams’ development and there are many signs for that, including inside ICOLD. First, ICOLD has elected an African President, Mr Adama Nombre, from Burkina Faso. He was president from 2012 to 2015. Second, ICOLD is developing with many new African countries joining ICOLD family, most recently Guinea Bissau. It has already co-organized with Aqua Media International the conference Africa 2013 in Addis-Ababa and it will co-organize another one: Africa 2017 in Marrakech.
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