Greenfield projects to provide 50% of hydropower gross capacity additions

Oil&Gas Materials 30 June 2021 13:49 (UTC +04:00)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 30

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

Between 2021 and 2030, new hydropower turbine installations, also referred to as gross capacity additions, are expected to reach more than 380 GW, Trend reports with reference to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“Slightly over half of these additions will be from greenfield projects, constructed on completely undeveloped land with no pre-existing infrastructure or civil works. Almost all this development (87%) will be in China, the Asia Pacific region, subSaharan Africa and Latin America, where there are still areas with suitable topography for economically viable sites. As these regions have relatively young hydropower fleets, new project development makes up almost all the turbines commissioned there. Brownfield projects are expected to make up a substantial part of new capacity additions over the forecast period, accounting for 45 percent of new turbine installations globally. However, their importance is much greater in mature hydropower markets where greenfield project potential is limited. In North America, Eurasia and Europe, brownfield projects constitute 85% of their combined growth due to the need to modernise ageing fleets and the limitation on locations for economically attractive and permittable new greenfield projects,” reads the IEA report.

Brownfield projects can be divided into two categories: modernisation of existing plants (expected to be the majority of project activity) and the addition of turbines to non-powered infrastructure. In the latter, generating units are installed on some form of pre-existing structure such as dams, conduits, municipal water infrastructure or natural or man-made reservoirs. Because some civil works are already in place, capital costs tend to be lower than for greenfield projects and permits are easier to acquire, which makes them attractive in regions where permitting new projects is a challenge (e.g. Europe, North America and Australia). Therefore, most global hydropower expansion involving pre-existing infrastructure consists of converting old coal mines to PSH plants in Australia, powering non-powered dams in the United States and using pre-existing reservoirs for PSH development in Europe.


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