31.5 GW of new hydropower was commissioned in 2016, IHA reports

The International Hydropower Association’s 2017 Key Trends in Hydropower briefing says 31.5 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned globally in 2016.

IHA says that at the end of 2016, the world’s total installed hydropower capacity reached 1,246 GW. This included 150 GW of pumped storage, of which 6.4 GW was added in 2016.

China was the leader in terms of new hydropower capacity installed, with 11.7 GW in 2016, including 3.7 GW of pumped storage. Brazil installed 6.4 GW of new hydropower in 2016.

By comparison, the 2016 report indicated that about 33 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned worldwide in 2015.

“The latest data shows that the hydropower sector is continuing to grow steadily across the world, and we are seeing a renaissance in pumped storage development,” says Richard Taylor, chief executive of IHA. “This is indicative of hydropower’s increasingly important role in providing flexible support to renewable energy systems, as countries around the world take steps to meet the carbon reduction goals set out in the Paris Agreement.”

The briefing also outlines the most significant current trends affecting hydropower, identified through IHA’s media monitoring, outreach, and annual survey of the sector:

  • Ultra-high-voltage transmission is connecting hydropower to markets, as the concept of “global energy interconnection” is being implemented regionally and on an intercontinental scale to enable the massive growth in renewable energy technologies to meet global energy demand.
  • An international research initiative has developed a framework for calculating the net greenhouse gas emissions of freshwater reservoirs, in which pre-impoundment emissions specific to each reservoir will now be considered, as well as the multiple services provided by the reservoir.
  • Initiatives are being established to manage the risk profile of hydropower.
  • There is increased integration of renewables to support grid stability.
  • New priorities are emerging on smart modernization and digitization of assets.

2017 Key Trends in Hydropower precedes the 2017 Hydropower Status Report, which IHA says will feature more in-depth analysis of key topics and regional activity. This report will be launched at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May.

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