In 2013, an assessment was carried out on the operations of the Blanda Hydropower Station, in accordance with the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. The assessment found Blanda to be outstanding in the sustainable use of hydropower and in some areas even considered the best standard found worldwide.
Blanda meets ‘Proven Best Practice’ on 14 out of 17 topics assessed.
International assessment on Blanda Hydropower Station’s operations
The Blanda Hydropower Station is located in the northwest of Iceland and came on-line in 1991. The installed capacity is 150 MW and the generation capacity is 910 GWh per year. More information can be found on Landsvirkjun’s website.
The assessment was comprehensive and took place at the Blanda Hydropower Station and at Landsvirkjun’s headquarters in Reykjavík. The assessment was carried out by three international experts who assessed detailed data on the operation of the Station. The team interviewed both Landsvirkjun employees and over 30 individual representatives from the various stakeholder groups: agencies, municipalities, companies and organizations. The protocol assessed 17 differing topics, pertaining to the operation of Blanda, in order to assess the sustainability of the hydropower project when compared with international standards on sustainable development. Topics included: Communications and Consultation, Environmental and Social Issues Management, Hydrological resource, Labour and Working Conditions, Biodiversity and invasive species and Erosion and Sedimentation.
The results of the assessment showed that Blanda meets ‘Proven Best Practice’ on 14 out of 17 topics assessed using the Protocol. Blanda exceeds ‘Basic Good Practice’ on all 3 remaining topics, each of these with only one significant gap against proven best practice.
Results of the assessment
Results of the assessment on the operations of the Blanda Hydropower Station in accordance with the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol.
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol
The assessment was carried out in accordance with the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. The Protocol was first launched in 2011 and is built on 20 clearly defined topics assessing the sustainability of hydropower stations. The Protocol can be used for four main stages of hydropower development: Early Stage, Preparation, Implementation and Operation.
The Protocol was developed between 2008-2010 by the Hydropower Sustainability Forum, comprised of “representatives of developed and developing country governments, the hydropower sector, social and environmental NGOs, and commercial and development banks” (http://www.hydrosustainability.org) alongside the International Hydropower Association (IHA) who initiated the project. The Director General for The Icelandic National Energy Authority represented the Icelandic government throughout the project. Landsvirkjun has given the project its full attention via its membership and has actively supported the development of the protocol.
Two assessments have been carried out in Iceland using the Protocol. The first assessment was carried out in May, 2012 on the preparation of the potential Hvammur project in the lower regions of the Þjórsá River. The second assessment was carried out on the operations of the Blanda Hydropower Station in September of 2013.
The results of the two assessments have been utilised in all of Landsvirkjun’s operations. The review of work procedures is already underway and the Company is assessing how other stations and projects under preparation fulfil the Protocol’s requirements. The assessment in 2012 resulted in the review of working procedures pertaining to communications and consultation in the preparation of potential projects. A comprehensive analysis of the environmental and societal impact of power stations in the Þjórsá Area is also under consideration.
More information on the IHA Protocol can be found at the IHA website. The audit reports for both Blanda and Hvammur can be found here: