In a new report, the International Hydropower Association
(IHA) has called on governments to accelerate the development of new hydropower capacity or risk missing global ‘net zero’ targets.
The 2022 Hydropower Status Report
found that 26GW of new capacity was put into operation during 2021. This falls well short of the 45GW that the International Energy Agency (IEA) says is required to meet ‘net zero’ goals by 2050 and keep global temperature rises to 1.5°C. To keep temperature rises to 2°C would require 30GW annually.
Eddie Rich, the IHA’s chief executive, said: “The report is a stark wake-up call to governments around the world that we are falling short of the progress that is needed. We can supercharge the progress firstly by accelerating the development of pumped storage hydropower around the world. Secondly, we need to look towards the immense untapped hydropower potential that exists in many regions of the world, particularly Asia and Africa.
“Finally, we need to make the most of our existing hydropower fleet by modernising it, as well as integrating hydropower facilities into non-power water infrastructure wherever suitable. We have the technology to achieve ‘net zero’ and the knowledge to deliver it sustainably. All that’s needed is the political will to make it happen.”
Ashok Khosla, chairman of the Hydropower Sustainability Council
, said: “Our urgent need for more energy absolutely must be met with low-carbon sources, such wind, solar and hydropower. At the same time, this needs to be done with sensitivity to environmental and social concerns. The multi-stakeholder Hydropower Sustainability Standard is the internationally recognised benchmark for good practice and should be embedded in the policies of governments and practices of others to ensure that they can move quickly and sustainably to invest in more hydropower, to enable the transition away from fossil fuels.”
Comparing development by country, the report shows that China leads the way with around 80% of the new global capacity in 2021 being installed in the country. China is already the world leader for installed hydropower capacity with over 390GW — more than three-times the next largest country, Brazil.
Notable projects that came online during 2021 include: the 824MW Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station, part of the Lower Churchill Project in Canada; the remaining 600MW of capacity at Laos’s 1,272MW Nam Ou plant; Nepal’s 456MW Upper Tamakoshi project; units 3 and 4 of Kameng Hydropower Station in India (adding 300MW); and a 324MW unit added at the Dnesiter pumped storage plant in Ukraine, raising the plant’s installed capacity to 1,296MW. The full report can be found on IHA’s website (www.hydropower.org