The State of Renewable Energies in Europe, 2016 edition, has been released, including discussions of hydro and ocean energy.
A chapter on small hydropower says that development of these facilities (with capacities up to 10 MW) has been pressured by the European Water Framework Directive and the designation of listed areas with Natura 2000 protection. Nonetheless, the small hydropower sector in the EU reached a 13,994 MW net capacity total at the end of 2015, adding 244 MW since 2014. Small hydro provided 45.2 TWh of electricity in 2015, dropping by 6.8 TWh from 2014. Declines were largest in Italy at 3.3 TWh and France and Spain at 1.1 TWh each.
The top three countries for net installed small hydro capacity are Italy at 3,208 MW, France at 2,065 MW and Spain at 1,953 MW. In 2015, Italy added 122 MW. Germany 44 MW and France 26 MW of small hydro capacity.
Hydropower (excluding pumped storage) was responsible for avoiding the purchase of €14.8 billion of fossil fuels in 2015 (compared with €20.4 billion in 2014).
With regard to employment, the report indicates more than a million people work in renewable energies in Europe. Half of these workers live in Germany, France and the UK.
EurObserv’ER cites a “slightly diminished” head count of more than 46,150 jobs in small and large hydropower (the statistics available do not include only small hydro), down from 49,200 in 2014. The largest employers were Germany at 6,700, Austria at 5,850 and the UK at 5,500.
Regarding ocean energy (tidal energy, currents and waves), the report says the UK “has at its disposal 50% of the wave energy resources and 35% of the current resources of the European continent.” A table lists a total of 250.5 MW of “European Union plants harnessing ocean energy at the end of 2016.”
The report also discusses turnover in small hydro, the amount of venture capital/private equity funding dedicated to small hydro and ocean energy in 2015, and the number of patent filings for both sectors in 2012 vs 2011.
To access the complete report, click here.