The Council presents to energy leaders at Hydropower Development 2017

Posted on 31 October 2017

Since 1980, total global electricity generation deriving from hydropower, has more than doubled with a strong upward trend over the last thirteen years. Hydropower has been and is still one of the most important CO2-free source for electricity generation globally.

Dr Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer, Chair of the Council’s Resources study group, presented at the Hydropower Development 2017 conference which convened senior executives and experts from the hydropower industry, to discuss the latest challenges and developments within the sector.

The conference held in Luxembourg last month, focused on in depth insights into the latest policy and legislation regulations, key market applications and overviews, the latest technology advancements, and the role of hydropower within the renewable energy arena from a wider context.

The share of hydropower in the total renewable-based electricity generation was more than 68 % in 2016. Asia, in particular China, and North and South America, currently dominate the hydropower scene. The share of the Asian/Pacific region in the worldwide hydropower based electricity generation was 40 % in 2016, followed by America with a share of 34 %. The country with the highest hydropower based electricity generation currently within Europe is Norway. The production in Norway exceeds the hydropower based electric generation of the entire African continent.

Dr Schiffer said: “The World Energy Council´s global scenarios work indicates that the electricity generation on the basis of hydropower will rise between two thirds and four quarters by 2060. That results in a nearly stable share of hydropower in the total global electricity generation, which accounted for 16 % in 2016. The CO2 emissions avoided thanks to the use of hydropower are estimated to amount to 3.3 billion tons annually. From 2015 to 2060 hydropower will help avoid approximately 150 billion tons of CO2 emissions globally.”

There is still a lot of hydropower potential at global level that can be exploited, which will increase the importance of hydropower in achieving the central energy policy and climate targets. The increased use of hydropower helps to overcome the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa, where still 590 million people are without access to electricity, almost 60 % of the population.

By highlighting the sector’s current major challenges and opportunities the conference provided a holistic outlook on market trends and drivers alongside discussions on future & existing of hydropower plants development.

The two-day event began with an extensive analysis and interactive discussion focusing on current & future European policy objectives, particularly the Water Framework Directive, EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the future of European Targets post 2020. The participants took part in an interactive panel and open discussions to share their knowledge, experience and uncertainties, while providing a holistic outlook into the future of hydropower development in Europe.

The event also provided an in-depth outlook into the key European markets, focusing largely on environmental objectives, hydropower operations, machinery maintenance and new built projects, and production flexibility.