A call for proposals has been issued by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) to revise the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reservoir Screening Tool, a living document first conceptualized in 2006.
In a press release, IHA said the development of the revised GHG Reservoir Screening Tool has been divided into the following four modules: pre-impoundment, post-impoundment, unrelated anthropogenic sources and allocation to reservoir services. The request for proposals invites research teams to assist in the development of the first three of these modules.
“Collaboration on the revised GHG Reservoir Screening Tool is being developed to estimate the impact a reservoir may have on the GHG exchanges that occur in a river basin,” according to IHA.
“The GHG Reservoir Screening Tool will allocate any GHG impact to the services provided by the reservoir. We expect that a prototype of the revised tool will be launched at the World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, China, 19–21 May 2015.”
The first international United Nations Educational Science Organization (UNESCO) and IHA GHG workshop on the topic was convened in Paris, France, in 2006.
According to published work by UNESCO and IHA, “A key reference established through this scientific community [was] the assessment of the GHG “Status of Freshwater Reservoirs – Scoping Paper,” which led to the UNESCO/IHA GHG Project.
“Scientific understanding has since advanced under the UNESCO/IHA GHG Status of Freshwater Reservoirs Research Project, which started in August 2008.”
Prior to the Beijing conference IHA said, “Back-to-back expert workshops to address both the development of the GHG Reservoir Screening Tool (convened by IHA) and modeling guidelines (convened by International Energy Agency-Hydro), will take place in London, 1–5 December 2014.”
Collaboration from varied parties in the attempt to establish guidelines on GHG emissions related to existing and planned hydropower facilities are needed because hydropower developments do emit GHGs, according to several studies that include a 2014 report released by Synapse Energy Economics Inc.
“The rate of emissions per unit of electric generation from hydropower (excluding tropical reservoirs) is much lower than for fossil fuel technologies,” the report said.
IHA said groups related to research on freshwater hydro-related GHG emissions have been established through a series of international workshops convened during the past four years. The entities comprise representatives from more than 100 institutions, including universities, research institutes, specialist companies, sponsoring agencies and others.