Global hydropower capacity to expand by 17% by 2030

Oil&Gas Materials 30 June 2021 13:44 (UTC +04:00)
Global hydropower capacity to expand by 17% by 2030

BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 30

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

Global cumulative hydropower capacity is expected to expand from about 1 330 GW in 2020 to just over 1 555 GW by 2030 – a 17 percent (230-GW) increase, Trend reports with reference to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

However, the increase in total capacity of new hydropower turbine installations will be greater (383 GW), split between greenfield projects (new power plants) and brownfield activities (turbine replacements or uprates, or additions of new turbines to existing plants or to non-powered infrastructure), according to the agency.

The amount of capacity to be retired over the forecast period (154 GW) accounts for the difference between net and gross capacity additions.

Following the deployment surge of the last three decades, global net hydropower capacity additions are expected to be 23 percent lower in 2021-2030 than in 2010-2020. This contraction results from development slowdowns in China, Latin America and Europe, even though increasing growth in the Asia Pacific region, Africa and the Middle East partly offsets these declines.

China continues to lead net capacity growth, accounting for 40 percent of expansion during 2021-2030, although its share has been declining since its peak in 2001-2010. China’s development has slowed due to growing concerns over environmental impacts and the decreasing availability of economically attractive sites. In India, the world’s second-largest growth market, development of a large pipeline of stalled projects is expected to resume owing to new long-term targets and financial support to meet rising power demand. Fast-growing electricity demand and regional trade also drive hydropower development in Southeast Asia, where countries such as Laos and Nepal are developing energy-export projects. Untapped potential and the need to increase electricity access affordably underpin hydropower development in sub-Saharan Africa, the third-largest region for growth over the next decade.

Expansion in Latin America has historically been almost entirely in Brazil, but a reduction in undeveloped economical sites as well as concerns over droughts and environmental impacts have stimulated interest in diversification and slowed hydropower development. Colombia and Argentina are therefore expected to lead future growth in Latin America. Turkey’s continuous hydropower expansion accounts for most of Europe’s growth, while in North America electricity export opportunities prompt the development of untapped potential in Canada. Outside of these two markets, the main drivers for growth in these regions are renewable energy targets and rising system flexibility needs, but environmental regulations and permitting complications are key constraints to hydropower expansion. Development is therefore shifting towards projects for which permit obtention is simpler, such as plant expansions and upgrades, or projects that use non-powered dams or pre-existing reservoirs. Fleet modernisation is also a key development activity in Europe and North America.


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