Hydroelectricity, 100 Years of Reliability and Affordability

Hydro is the most widely used renewable energy source. Hydroelectricity contributes to 17% of the global energy production, per the International Energy Agency where China is the largest producer followed by Canada, Brazil, and the United States. Over two-thirds of the potential is yet to be developed in Latin America, Central Africa, India and China. The market is projected to be growing at 5.9% CAGR annually.

Facilities to house Hydropower come in all sizes, from the well-known hydroelectric power plant to a small system called a Micro Hydropower which is suitable for a single home, farm, ranch, or village. For all hydro projects, it is critical to complete a sustainability assessment which includes sites, environmental, and social impacts. Sustainability assessments are the key elements that enable the creation of a solid action plan prior to project development.

Clean and cheap energy is defined by Hydroelectricity, proven renewable energy in use for well over 100 years. On September 30, 1882, the world’s first hydroelectric power plant began operation using the natural energy of the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin and established the technology as resilient and long-lasting.

Hydropower at its heart is like a big battery making it to be the ideal renewables partner providing stored power in the form of water as needed. This positions hydropower as the essential component in a renewable energy infrastructure promoting guaranteed energy with price stability. Solar and wind power projects are seeing an increase in numbers yet are unreliable in meeting peak demands and maintaining system codes unless coupled with BESS to provide ancillary services. Hydro projects can be implemented and used to make the grid stable by generating a more reliable form of renewable energy. IRENA supports this through the Hydropower collaborative framework facilitating priorities, international growth, and partnerships.

Hydroelectric power is flexible and can generate power to the grid immediately, providing for example essential backup power during major electricity outages or disruptions. Hydropower is proven to be low-cost and durable over time compared to other renewable energy sources. Across the globe there are an estimated 62,500 operating power plants that generate more than 6000 GW.

It is Hydroelectricity that progresses stability and reliability across renewable energy systems.