The following text is an excerpt from article published in full at Renewable Energy World.
Against the rapidly evolving landscape of renewable energy, hydropower remains the world’s primary source of clean energy — providing over 80 percent of renewable energy capacity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). In addition to the clean, low maintenance, and flexible electricity hydro also boasts lengthy operation lifetimes. This, coupled with the ubiquity of hydro resources render it a highly competitive energy source that should continue to expand throughout the world in 2016.
According to latest figures from the International Hydropower Association (IHA), 1,036 GW of hydropower capacity generated over 16 percent of global electricity production in 2014.
A technologically mature industry, hydro has well-established markets in Europe and North America and prospects for global hydropower development are highly encouraging. The World Energy Council (WEC) observes an annual rate of 3 percent growth that’s sure to be maintained in the coming years. Investment is expected for hydropower of all scales; however, large-scale (>100 MW) is expected to provide the vast majority of new capacity. While pumped storage and small-scale hydropower will provide less than 10 percent of future capacity, facilities of these sorts will be most common.
Looking to the year ahead, IHA identified several trends driving hydropower build-out…