World Energy Council Report: Hydropower’s Big Surge - Set To Double by 2050

Embargo: 0.01GMT Tuesday 19 May 2015

The global hydroelectric power market, which already represents 76% of all renewable global energy, has the potential to double to 2,000GW capacity by 2050 according to the World Energy Council Report  ‘Charting The Upsurge In Hydropower Development’ presented at the World Hydropower Congress in Beijing (19 May 2015).  This target could be achieved earlier than 2050, if governments and multilateral banks give help to emerging economies where hydropower resources are under-utilised and investors work with the sector to bring forward well-prepared projects.

Since 2005, hydropower has seen a resurgence due to better management and understanding of what technology can provide.   It offers power and energy storage as well as the additional benefits of freshwater management, including flood protection and drought management.  With changing climates, the ability to store water and provide clean energy is key to developing economies in regions where new hydropower development has a major role to play.

The Report notes the change in approach to hydropower from the World Bank, private investors and NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy who are now supporting hydropower schemes.  However, the Report says that there is much more that can be done to help developing countries.

Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, said: “The future lies in the opening up of new markets through cross-border trade and power pools and devising appropriate market conditions, such as renewable incentives, clearer price signals for additional services and flexible generation.  Whilst some governments and multilateral banks are supporting and encouraging neighbouring nations to co-operate and share the same water resources, more innovative solutions are needed.”

The Report predicts that the regions where there is the highest potential for rapid growth are in China, India, Brazil and Southeast Asia.  The schemes will be largely storage hydropower where water can be stored in reservoirs for additional purposes and run-of-river hydropower plants. These plants already exist in the Amazon basin, the Himalayas region and the Mekong and Irrawaddy river systems.

Speaking at the World Hydropower Congress, Marie-José Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council said: “Hydropower consumes very little water compared with other energy resources.  As the world moves to cleaner energy resources and water becomes an increasingly valuable commodity in many regions, it will influence the choice of energy options.  Governments must take a leading role in addressing the vicious cycle of rising water and energy demands – the ‘energy-water nexus’.”

The Report gives examples of high users of hydropower which are China, who utilises 41% of its hydropower resources (worth up to 1.3million GWh per year) and India who utilises 21% of its hydropower resources (worth up to 0.5million GWh per year).   Russia, which has the world’s largest resource of hydropower energy (worth up to 1.5million GWh per year) only utilises 10% of its resource.  Another example of the high potential for the use of hydropower energy is in Indonesia which has the sixth largest hydropower resource in the world (worth up to 0.39 million GWh per year), yet only utilises 3% of its energy resources. 

As the world increasingly turns to renewable energy, and if border tariffs come down, then hydropower utilisation will increase, not just to provide domestic energy, but also as an export revenue generator. Current examples of countries supplying its surplus energy to bordering countries include Canada to the United States and Norway to Denmark.

The Report was welcomed by Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association, who said:  “We are pleased to have worked with the World Energy Council in preparing this Report.  The research shows that the hydropower sector is continuing to grow.  Large-scale projects will always be a challenge because there are so many authorities and stakeholders involved.  No projects move forward without the government concerned understanding hydropower.  It is their responsibility to create the right conditions to bring forward the best projects.  The spectrum of development models is increasing, and these will vary according to the local expertise and access to markets.  If hydropower’s contribution is to double, we need to share the knowledge that will lead to informed decisions that meet today’s sustainability criteria."

Hydropower’s flexibility of supply and ability to store energy until it is needed makes it an ideal partner to help other renewables optimise their contribution.  In addition, hydropower can also regulate river flows to manage floods or to mitigate drought periods – adding value to both our energy and water systems.  

For the full Report see: http://www.worldenergy.org/?p=13852

NOTES TO EDITORS

For Press: to see full embargoed report: https://www.worldenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/World-Energy-Resources_Charting-the-Upsurge-in-Hydropower-Development_2015.pdf

NOTE: THE ABOVE LINK IS FOR JOURNALISTS ONLY; IF YOU WISH TO PROVIDE A LINK TO THIS PAPER FOR YOUR READERS, PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWING, WHICH WILL GO LIVE AT THE TIME THE EMBARGO LIFTS: http://www.worldenergy.org/?p=13852

The World Energy Council 2015 Report ‘Charting The Upsurge In Hydropower Development’ covers technology and markets, the role of governments, sustainability and the future and includes contributions from:

  • Brookfield Renewable Energy Group
  • Electricity Control Board
  • Enel Green Power
  • Energy Commission of Nigeria
  • Hydro-Québec
  • International Hydropower Association
  • Lund University
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • RWE

Contact: Vivien Rees, World Energy Council PR Manager

Phone:  (+44) 20 3214 0616         Email: rees@worldenergy.org

About the World Energy Council

The World Energy Council is the principal impartial network of leaders and practitioners promoting an affordable, stable and environmentally sensitive energy system for the greatest benefit of all.

Formed in 1923, the World Energy Council is the UN-accredited global energy body, representing the entire energy spectrum with more than 3000 member organisations located in over 90 countries, drawn from governments, private and state corporations, academia, NGOs and energy-related stakeholders.

The World Energy Council informs global, regional and national energy strategies by hosting high-level events, publishing authoritative studies, and working through its extensive member network to facilitate the world’s energy policy dialogue.  It provides a solid framework for countries to assess their own political risk and work towards a balanced, predictable and stable policy and institutional structure based on the triple challenge of the ‘energy trilemma’ - finding the right balance between energy security, energy equity or access and environmental sustainability. 

About Us

The World Energy Council (WEC) is the principal impartial network of leaders and practitioners promoting an affordable, stable and environmentally sensitive energy system for the greatest benefit of all. Formed in 1923, WEC is the UN accredited global energy body, representing the entire energy spectrum, with more than 3000 member organisations located in over 90 countries and drawn from governments, private and state corporations, academia, NGOs and energy related stakeholders. WEC informs global, regional and national energy strategies by hosting high level events, publishing authoritative studies and working through its extensive member network to facilitate the energy policy dialogue. More on www.worldenergy.org and @WECouncilSpecialtiesNetwork of energy leaders in over 90 countries, Energy scenarios, For a sustainable energy future, Energy trilemma, Impartial studies, data and information, Energy resources, World Energy Congress, Energy policy, High level dialogue between energy leaders Websitehttp://www.worldenergy.orgIndustryOil & EnergyTypeNonprofitHeadquarters62-64 Cornhill street 5th floor London, EC3V 3NH United KingdomCompany Size11-50 employeesFounded1923

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