BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb.8
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
As the energy transition gathers pace and countries search for reliable, large-scale infrastructure projects to meet future demand, hydropower is solidifying its position as the most popular renewable energy source, Trend reports with reference to Rystad Energy, an independent energy research and business intelligence company.
Rystad Energy analysts note that the hydropower market will continue its upward trajectory in 2022 as global capacity exceeds 1,200 gigawatts (GW) for the first time and investments climb to $36.3 billion.
“Hydropower accounts for almost one-sixth of the world’s power generation, trailing only coal and natural gas. The industry’s contribution to power generation is nearly 60 percent higher than nuclear energy and greater than all other renewables combined, including wind, solar PV, bioenergy and geothermal. Power generated through hydropower rose slightly in 2021 to 4,414 terawatt-hours (TWh), up from 4,360 TWh in 2020, while capacity of nearly 17 GW was added in 2020, followed by another 14 GW in 2021,” reads the report released by the company.
Rystad Energy notes that investments in the sector slowed somewhat before 2020 as other renewable sources such as wind and solar PV gained momentum, a situation exacerbated by delays to several major hydropower projects and some regions’ lack of policy changes, which also stunted growth. The industry is, however, experiencing a renaissance as countries are increasingly motivated to find suitable renewable options to decarbonize their energy supply.
“Hydropower is the backbone of low-carbon electricity generation and has been rising since the 1970s. Over the last two decades, the installed global capacity of hydropower has grown from 680 GW in 2000 to nearly 1,200 GW in 2021, a surge of more than 75 percent,” says Rystad Energy analyst Karan Satwani.
Most of the capacity additions until 2030 are expected to come from large-scale projects in Asia and Africa, according to the company.
In Africa specifically, installed capacity is expected to grow at a combined annual growth rate of 2.5 percent from 2017 to 2023, driven by Ethiopia, Mozambique and Uganda.
“Most of the large-scale projects in Asia and Africa are managed by state-owned companies. We expect a slowdown in the pace of hydropower development in China over the coming years due to growing concerns over environmental impact and the shrinking availability of economically attractive sites for large projects,” said the report.
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