REN21 report says hydropower accounted for 15.5% of new installed renewable capacity in 2016

Installed capacity of renewables worldwide reached nearly 2,017 GW in 2016, with hydropower accounting for 15.5% of the new capacity, according to the Renewables 2017 Global Status Report.

This report, issued by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, or REN21, says renewable power generating capacity increased about 161 GW in 2016, or nearly 9% growth over 2015. As the report acknowledges, “Some well-established renewable energy technologies, such as hydropower and geothermal energy, have long since become cost-competitive with fossil fuels where

resources are plentiful.”

The report says that excluding hydro, total renewable power capacity worldwide was 921 GW. This means worldwide hydro capacity (excluding pumped storage) is 1,096 GW, and the next closest technology is wind power at 487 GW. Global pumped storage capacity is counted separately and was estimated to be 150 GW at the end of 2016, with about 6.4 GW added in 2016. The report indicates, “Pumped storage is the dominant source of large-scale energy storage.”

The countries with the greatest total hydropower capacity as of the end of 2016 are China, Brazil, the United States, Canada and the Russian Federation.

The report also indicates that worldwide small-scale hydropower (less than 50 MW) accounts for 211,000 direct and indirect jobs and large-scale hydropower 1,519,000 direct and indirect jobs.

However, “Despite these positive trends, the pace of the transition is still not on track to achieve the goals established in the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius,” said Arthouros Zervos, chair of REN21.

The report contains a special section on ocean energy that says ocean energy is “any energy harness from the ocean by means of ocean waves, tidal range (rise and fall), tidal streams, ocean (permanent) currents, temperature gradients and salinity gradients.” It says that there was about 536 MW of capacity by the end of 2016, primarily from two tidal barrage facilities. It says other technologies are still “largely in pre-commercial development stages.”

REN21 began preparing this collaborative report in 2005.

For more information or to access the report, click 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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