Publication - Hydropower: Unveiling the Socioeconomic Benefits

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Hydropower: Unveiling the Socioeconomic Benefits
World Bank Group
Published in
July 2024
Among hydropower’s myriad benefits (e.g., greater energy security, reduced greenhouse gas emissions), this report focuses specifically on its socioeconomic benefits, and how governments can maximize them through policy and planning. The report also considers outcomes that can be controlled and maximized at the project level, beyond the risk mitigation requirements of environmental and social safeguard frameworks. Notably, benefits can be felt at both national and local levels throughout a hydropower project’s planning, development, and operation. This report’s preparation included an extensive literature review. This was combined with a market sounding that engaged 50 stakeholders in the hydropower sector, including governments, industry associations, academia, public and private sector developers, and technical experts. In addition, nine hydropower developers were asked about the quantitative data and figures developed from the literature review. Key lessons and best practices gathered from these important contributors are outlined in the text and showcased across 30 case studies. This report complements the 2022 World Bank handbook “A Sure Path to Sustainable Renewable Energy: Maximizing Socioeconomic Benefits Triggered by Renewables,” which offers guidance to governments on designing renewable energy programs that have extensive benefits, for communities and the broader society (World Bank 2022a). Although the handbook does not specifically focus on hydropower, it provides an underpinning framework and step-by-step process that governments can follow. The present report is intended for governments, developers, and operators to learn from the examples and case studies featured, take inspiration from the successes, and replicate the best practices to generate positive socioeconomic outcomes.