$75 billion to be invested in global hydropower by 2020

A new report published this week  predicts that the global hydropower market will continue to expand over the next seven years through to 2020. By this time global hydropower capacity is predicted to exceed 1,400 Gigawatts.

The report was produced and published by the analytical firm Globaldata. Global cumulative hydropower stood at 1,065 GW in 2012. By 2020 this is expected to increase up to 1,407 GW. Of this 1,407 GW 1,052 GW will be produced by large scale hydropower installations, 215 GW will be supplied by pumped storage power and 140 GW will be generated from small scale hydropower developments (such as those being developed by ourselves at Intelligent Land Investments (Renewable Energy)). Globaldata’s prediction of 1,407 GW of installed capacity by 2020 represents an annual compound growth rate of 3.5% for the hydropower industry.

The level of growth predicted by Globaldata represents an investment into hydropower of $75 billion over the next seven years. The majority of this growth is expected to occur in the Asian-Pacific region – much of which will occur in China. China has the fastest growing energy demand in the world – it is this fact combined with the Chinese Government’s desire to move away from it’s dependency on fossil fuels and curb the increasingly high levels of pollution which are occurring in the country which will see the development of many large scale hydropower schemes within the country.

China is expected, by Globaldata, to have developed 147.3 GW of hydropower capacity by 2020. Other countries in the region are also expected to pursue further hydropower developments as well. For instance; India will develop an additional 23.2 GW of hydropower capacity between 2012 and 2020, Indonesia will develop a further 9.4 GW of capacity  in the same period.

It is an accepted fact that the vast majority of new hydropower developments will be pursued in the Asian-Pacific region. The reason for this is that other regions such as North America and Europe represent far more mature markets for the technology. A country only  has a finite amount of hydropower capacity to develop. A large scale hydropower development represents a huge amount of environmental and ecological upheaval. When potential development sites which fall within national parks or areas of specific scientific interest are discounted it can often be the case that a country is already approaching the limits of its hydropower capacity. This is the case in the UK where the vast majority of available sites suitable for large scale hydropower generation were developed in the immediate period following the end of the second world war (such as in the Scottish Highlands). The level of installed hydropower capacity from such sites has remained stable for decades.

However that is not to say that there is no room for growth for hydropowr in the West. The Globaldata report outlines an expectation for there to be 271 GW of installed hydropower capacity in North America by 2020 and for 197 GW of capacity in Europe by the same year. For the regions which represent the mature end of the hydropower market this represents more than encouraging growth.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Globaldata analyst Swati Singh commented:

“Although fossil fuels dominate electricity generation across the world, more than 60 countries use hydropower to meet more than half of their electricity needs. The technology is the most popular non-polluting source of electricity generation for various reasons, including its ability to respond to changing electricity demand, water management and flood control.”

In other news the UK renewable energy company Ecotricity announced this week that is now publishing real time data demonstrating the amount of electricity being generated and fed into the national grid by the 55 wind turbines which it has installed across the country.

Data is uploaded to this website every 30 seconds directly from the meters which connect each of the 55 turbines to the national grid. Figures are also supplied for total monthly output, CO2 emission displacement, and how many of the 55 turbines are currently supplying electricity to the national grid. At the time of writing this blog currently 50 of the 55 are feeding power into the grid

Previously the company was supplying live data on UK-wide grid generation but it was felt that the new data would help to dispel many of the myths which surround wind turbines. Ecotricty’s founder Dale Vince remarked; “This is all about being a modern, open energy company in the digital age. Providing real-time generation figures is important but equally you also need to look at the output over time.”

By allowing people to see for themselves exactly how much wind energy is being produced at any one time, the public will be able to see for themselves the significant contribution which wind power is already making to their energy needs.

 

Wind power market expected to quadruple by 2030

This week one of the key figures within the renewables industry predicted that a massive and rapid expansion in the use of renewable energy generation will occur over the next two decades.

Markus Tacke, Chief Executive of the German Multinational Siemens’ wind power division predicted that the global wind power market will more than quadruple in the years through to 2030, with the majority of this growth occuring in the Asian Pacific. Speaking at a renewable energy conference in Berlin Tacke commented that “the market will shift away from Europe significantly.”

Europe is currently the world’s largest market for wind power. So it is inevitable that other regions have more room for industry growth. The Asian Pacific was highlighted due to many nations in the region shifting their energy focus to renewables with wind power generation given particular attention due to the technology’s proven track record and falling costs. Wind power is expected to play a particularly strong role incountries such as Japan, which is moving away from nuclear power to renewables following the Fukishima Disaster, and China, which has large amounts of steppe land suitable for onshore wind farms and a desire to reduce the country’s reliance upon imported coal. Indeed a recent report produced by GlobalData has demonstrated that China doubled it’s installed wind capacity year on year from 2006 to 2011.

As of 2012 there were 273 Gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable capacity across the globe. By 2030 this capacity is expected to increase dramatically to 1,107 GW. As stated previously Europe is the world’s biggest market for renewable energy generation. Along with the Middle East the region accounts for 40% of the world’s renewables market. Currently the Asian Pacific accounts for 34% of the world’s market share. By 2030 this market share is expected to grow to 47%. Obviously this demonstrates huge growth in Asian renewables but it should be noted that the European market will also continue to expand. Despite such aggressive Asian growth European and Middle Eastern market share is only expected to drop to 34%. This indicates the huge amount of renewable capacity which will be constructed in Europe over the next twenty years.

This can be seen in other news announced at the same conference at which Markus Tacke was making his comments. The Norwegian Ministry for Oil and Energy has granted 8 licences for offshore wind farms which when completed are expected to have a combined capacity of 1.3 GW. This is just one of the steps being taken by the Norwegian Government in order to meet their target of having 67.5% of their power being generated from renewable sources by 2020.

Another report on China, this time by Bloomberg New Energy, fully lays bare the monumental amount of growth expected to occur in the Chinese renewables market. They predict that over half of all new generation capacity in China through to 2030 will come from renewable sources. To place this in context, over this timeframe, Chinese power capacity (regardless of how said power is generated) will more than double.

The Bloomberg report covers several different scenarios. One in which progress in clean energy technology is slower than expected, two in which the barriers to rapid takeup of renewable energy technology are removed and what is billed as the most likely scenario; the “New Normal”.

In the “New Normal” scenario over 1,500 GW of generation capacity will be constructed in China by 2030. Such development will be driven by investment of over $3.9 trillion. This level of investment will result in the creation of 88 GW of new capacity annually. To place this in prespective 88 GW represents the entire generation capacity of the United Kingdom!

China’s reliance upon coal power has often been cited as one of the major stumbling blocks towards the world achieving internationally agreed greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In Bloomberg’s “New Normal” coal’s share of China’s energy mix is expected to drop from it’s current level of 67% to 44% in 2030. This demonstrates the trans-formative potential of renewable energy.

Michael Liebreich chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance echoed Markus Tracke in his assessment of Chinese energy generation:

“It is hard to underestimate the significance of China’s energy consumption growth and its evolving generation mix,” he said. “The impacts will reach far beyond China and have major implications for the rest of the world, ranging from coal and gas prices to the cost and market size for renewable energy technologies – not to mention the health of the planet’s environment.”

The predictions and comments made this week demonstrate the huge potential of both the wind generation industry and the wider renewable energy industry. Renewables surely represent one of the world’s biggest growth markets.