U.S. report: Hydro to lead global renewables growth through 2035

WASHINGTON 9/28/11 (PennWell) -- A U.S. agency report predicts hydroelectric power will constitute 55 percent of the renewable energy added globally through 2035.

International Energy Outlook 2011, by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), said renewable energy sources are the fastest growing sources of electricity generation globally. It predicts, from 2008 to 2035, world renewable energy use for electricity generation will grow an average of 3.1 percent per year and the renewable share of world electricity generation will increase from 19 percent in 2008 to 23 percent in 2030.

"Of the 4.6 trillion kilowatt-hours of new renewable generation added over the projection period, 2.5 trillion kilowatt-hours (55 percent) is attributed to hydroelectric power and 1.3 trillion kilowatt-hours (27 percent) to wind," the report said.

Although renewables have positive environmental and energy security attributes, EIA said most renewable technologies other than hydroelectricity are not able to compete economically with fossil fuels during the projection period, except in a few regions or niche markets. It said government policies or incentives often provide the primary economic motivation for construction of renewables generation facilities.

Greatest hydro growth in developing countries

The report noted the greatest increase in hydroelectric growth is outside the developed countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

"In the OECD nations, most of the hydroelectric resources that are both economical to develop and also meet environmental regulations already have been exploited," EIA said. "With the exceptions of Canada and Turkey, there are few large-scale hydroelectric projects planned for the future."

In the non-OECD countries, hydropower is expected to be the predominant source of renewable energy growth. This is due to mid- to large-scale hydroelectric plants to be completed in China, India, Brazil, and a number of nations in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Vietnam.

The report predicted world hydropower generation will increase to 5.6 trillion kWh by 2035 from 3.1 trillion kWh in 2008. Wind generation is expected to increase to 1.4 trillion kWh in 2035 from 210 billion kWh in 2008. Other renewables are expected to increase to 1.1 trillion kWh in 2035 from 331 billion kWh in 2008.

Total world net electricity generation is expected to increase 84 percent, the report said, to 35.2 trillion kWh in 2035 from 19.1 trillion kWh in 2008. Greatest growth is expected in non-OECD countries where a large amount of potential demand remains unsatisfied.

International Energy Outlook 2011
may be obtained free of charge from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Internet site, www.eia.doe.gov.

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