Farmington, Conn., March 14, 2012 — By the year 2020, the cumulative installed capacity of the global hydropower market is expected to grow at a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6 percent, from 739.2 GW in 2010 to 1,051.1 GW in 2020, and global hydropower generation should climb from 2,483.5 GWh to 3,491.8 GWh in the 2011-2020 period at a CAGR of 3.5 percent, according to a recent report by GBI Research.
Hydropower remains the most widely used renewable resource for clean power generation across the globe, due in part to its power generation flexibility, a major advantage it has over other technologies.
Hydropower helps to maintain grid stability and can overcome shortages during peak power demand or power losses. Hydropower technology also carries the benefit of generating lower greenhouse gas emissions than other renewable energy sources.
Hydropower is the simplest form of renewable energy with the longest history of use. In 2010, Hydropower accounted for around 93 percent of the total renewable cumulative installed capacity.
Hydropower is also inexpensive, with favorable policies and incentives provided by governments around the world. Much of hydropower's global potential remains untapped, and while the share of other renewable resources are expected to increase in the future, hydropower is expected to remain at the top of global renewable installed capacity, accounting for up to 59.8 percent of the total renewable installed capacity.
Increasing government support will drive this growth, as favorable policies encourage investments from both public and private players. Almost all regions of the world have significant untapped hydropower potential waiting to be exploited.
South and Central America, the Middle East, and Africa will be key hydropower markets by 2020 as demand for electricity expands and attention turns to the untapped hydropower potential in those regions.
Mozambique and Ethiopia in Africa have substantial untapped hydropower potential. The main sources of hydropower in the African region include the Blue Nile, the Shebele and the Omo. Mozambique and Ethiopia have substantial untapped hydropower potential, including the rivers Tekezé, Awash, Baro, Genale and Mereb.
While the lack of proper infrastructure and investments are inadequate to support the maintenance and renewal of existing hydropower plants, increasing electricity requirements in these developing nations, have lead governments to develop lucrative policies and incentives to secure stronger investment. The combined effect of these factors is expected to drive the market at an exponential rate.
High levels of unexploited hydropower energy also exist in Venezuela and Mexico. The Venezuelan electricity crisis of 2009-2010 aided the hydropower sector when the nation was found to be unprepared to cope with increased emergency demand.
The wide gap between the demand and the supply of electricity lead Venezuela's government to focus on augmenting installed hydropower capacity, including attempting to decrease its dependence on the single Guri dam plant.
Corpoelec, the national electricity corporation of Venezuela, has a number of projects planned to expand the scope of the national hydropower industry. Similarly, in Mexico, the government's supportive measures and the untapped hydropower potential will likely drive the hydropower market in the country.
Ethiopia's hydropower market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 26.9 percent between 2011 and 2020 to reach 16,706 MW, while Mozambique's is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.4 percent to reach 6,784.2 MW. In Venezuela and Mexico the markets are expected to increase at a CAGR of 4.8 percent and 2.9 percent respectively, to reach 23,156.1 MW and 14,895.7 MW through 2020.
Governments are focusing increasingly on hydropower generation in majority of economies around the world, as it is the most efficient, economic and reliable form of clean, renewable power generation, with a high amount of untapped potential across the world.
China's ecoENERGY for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Program aims to reduce and displace coal and diesel electricity generation by funding support for clean energy projects, reducing GHG emissions and resulting in cleaner air in the Aboriginal and Northern Communities.
In the U.S., the 2005 Energy Policy Act creates policies and incentives for developing renewable energy. The act aims to enhance and expand domestic energy production. Brazil's government instituted the Incentives for Small Hydro Facilities policy to exempt small hydro facilities (those which produce less than 30 MW) from paying financial compensation for the use of water resources.