REN21 annual report provides key findings about hydropower in 2015

REN21, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, has released its Renewables 2016 Global Status Report, with several key findings related to hydropower in 2015.

Below are some important statistics from the report. In 2015:

  • Employment in the renewable energy sector (not including large hydropower) increased to an estimated 8.1 million jobs (direct and indirect). Small hydropower is responsible for about 204,000 direct and indirect jobs worldwide.
  • Large hydropower accounted for an additional 1.3 million direct jobs.
  • The power sector experienced its largest annual increase in capacity ever, with significant growth in all regions and hydropower representing nearly 24% of all additions.
  • Hydropower provided about 16.6% of all global electricity.
  • Hydropower capacity was 1,064 GW, compared with 1,036 GW in 2014. It is estimated that global hydropower generation rose to about 3,940 TWh.
  • Global new investment in renewable power and fuels climbed to a record US$285.9 billion in 2015 (not including hydropower projects greater than 50 MW). This represents a rise of 5% compared with 2014 and exceeds the previous record of US$278.5 billion achieved in 2011.
  • Including investments in hydropower projects larger than 50 MW, total new investment in renewable power and fuels (not including renewable heating and cooling) was at least US$328.9 billion.
  • Investment in small hydropower fell by 29% to US$3.9 billion and in ocean energy fell by 42% to US$215 million.
  • The five countries with the greatest net capacity additions for hydropower in 2015 were China, Brazil, Turkey, India and Vietnam.
  • The five countries with the greatest total hydropower capacity at the end of 2015 were China (27.9%), Brazil (8.6%), U.S. (7.5%), Canada (7.4%) and Russia (4.5%). The five with the greatest total hydropower generation at the end of 2015 were China, Brazil, Canada, U.S. and Russia.

The definition of large and small hydro used in this report is not clear; it does say that IRENA defines large hydropower as projects above 10 MW and small hydropower as projects below 10 MW.

The report also briefly discusses ocean energy, defined as wave and tidal current technologies. Ocean energy capacity remained at about 530 MW in 2015. Ocean energy technology deployments in 2015 were predominantly demonstration projects, with most activity concentrated in tidal energy technologies.

The report is available here.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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