Hydropower projects have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but if not properly designed, can result in unacceptable environmental and socio-economic impacts. Accordingly, VCS believes that only those hydropower projects which demonstrate appropriate consideration of and address these impacts should be eligible under the VCS Program. To this end, VCS is considering revising its rules to require hydropower projects to perform a ‘hydro-specific’ sustainability assessment, and has issued a call for public input to receive feedback on our proposal for doing so.

Specifically, VCS is proposing that all hydropower projects be required to perform an assessment against the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, which is a tool that provides a means to assess performance across a number of sustainability topics particularly relevant for hydropower projects. The protocol scores projects against each sustainability topic, though it does not set any particular scoring threshold for “passing”. VCS’ proposed update to its rules, as detailed in the call for public input (linked below), includes scoring thresholds which projects would be required to meet to be eligible under the VCS Program.

VCS is issuing this call for public input to receive feedback on its proposed update to the VCS rules. The below call for public input includes further background on the topic, details on the proposed update to the VCS rules and instructions for submitting comments. The call for public input is open from 11 July to 8 September 2017.

Call for public input: Hydropower sustainability assessments

Following the closure of the call for public input, VCS will publish a synopsis of comments received, but will not publish individual comments for the sake of confidentiality. VCS will take due account of all comments received, and may subsequently draft revisions to the VCS Program rules.