Hydropower and Ocean Renewable Energy Growth Management

Yôu qi fù bi you qi zi

The son always takes after his father.

Like father like son.

Executive summary

Hydropower renewable energy applications have been important elements in the renewable transformation plans of key emerging economies and developed countries. Hydropower is currently the largest single renewable electricity power generation source globally. Hydropower has been competitive against fossil fuel power generation and is currently providing over 16% of world’s electricity generation. Significant new developments arc planned for emerging economies in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Ocean renewable energy sources have remained a largely untapped renewable energy source, despite decades of development efforts. Details of hydropower and ocean renewable power developments will be discussed in more detail in this chapter with international examples.

Hydro renewable power growths and developments

New hydropower and ocean renewable energy applications have been important elements of the new renewable energy transformation plans of many key emerging economies and developed countries. These clean renewable power applications should help the emerging economies and developed countries, with the appropriate hydro and ocean resources, to meet their twin challenges of reducing fossil fuel consumptions and of lowering their environmental pollutions.

Hydropower is currently the largest single renewable electricity power generation source globally. It has been supplying over 16% of global electricity generation and 70% of all renewable electricity generation globally. Hydropower has been successful in meeting the cost competitiveness challenges from fossil power generation routes. Hydropower generation is currently providing over 1,000 GW of installed electricity generation at competitive prices

Hydropower & ocean renewable energy management 65 in both emerging economies and developed countries globally (REN, Global Status Report, 2018).

Significant new hydropower developments are being planned for emerging economies in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Asia has the largest unutilised hydropower potential of over 7,000 TWh/year globally. The emerging economics in Asia are the likely leading markets for future new hydropower developments. At the same time, there are also significant public environmental and political challenges to these new hydropower projects.

The leading countries for cumulative hydro capacity globally included China, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Russia, India and Norway. Together, these countries have represented about 63% of the total installed hydro renewable capacities globally. China has become the global leader in new hydropower capacities and was followed by Brazil, India, Angola and Turkey. Other countries that had added significant hydropower capacities included Iran, Vietnam, Russia and Sudan (REN, 2018).

Hydropower developments have remained relatively strong across various emerging economies in Asia. A good example is Vietnam which had completed the new 260 MW Trung Son hydropower plant. This new hydropower plant is intended to provide flood protection and meet irrigation needs as well as to generate hydroelectricity to promote local economic developments. The project has been designed to minimise its potential social and environmental impacts. It is also Vietnam’s first large-scale hydropower project to receive funding from the World Bank.

India has also brought into commercial operation some new hydropower capacities. However, nearly half of all the large-scale hydropower projects in India have been facing delays or other challenges. In Pakistan, the new 147 MW Patrind hydropower plant has been owned and developed by parties with commercial interests from the Republic of Korea. The project had been awarded certified emission reduction credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This is in line with Korean efforts to promote CDM projects abroad (REN, 2018).

Russia has also been one of the top countries for hydropower capacity globally. Russia has recently seen a net five-year growth in installed hydropower capacities. Most of the newly added hydropower capacities in Russia have been tied to the inauguration of the 320 MW Nizhne-Bureyskaya hydropower plant in the Russian Far East. This is the region where a majority of Russia’s new hydropower projects under construction are located. Following a flood in the Amur River basin in 2013, the design of the plant was modified so as to cater for improved flood controls.

In North America, the USA continued to be ranked third globally for installed hydropower capacities. However, recent new hydropower expansions in the USA have been relatively modest. In Canada, the Upper Lillooet River Hydro Project with two run-of-river hydropower facilities has been completed in British Columbia.

In Latin America, Brazil has continued to be the largest hydropower producer. Brazil has also been ranked second globally for new hydropower installations. The construction of the new 11.2 GW Belo Monte hydropower project in Brazil has faced various setbacks due to serious concerns about its potential social and environmental impacts on the local indigenous communities. Brazil’s hydropower output has also declined in 2017 due to climate-induced extreme droughts in various parts. These declines in hydropower outputs have led to a national surcharge on electricity rates plus an increase in electricity imports from neighbouring countries.

Bolivia has just completed its largest hydropower plant to date. It is the multipurpose 120 MW Misicuni hydropower plant. This hydropower plant is representing 7% of the total country’s power generation capacity. Its water reservoir will also serve to improve local municipal water supplies. Peru and Colombia have also expanded their hydropower portfolios.

In the Middle East region, Iran and Turkey have been adding new hydropower capacities. In Iran, the new 450 MW Rudbar hydro project was completed. This new project is in line with Iran’s new national energy plans to reduce electricity generation from fossil fuels plus to lower emissions and pollutions. This Iran hydropower project has been funded largely by Chinese interests as part of China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Turkey has also been expanding its hydropower capacity. In 2017, hydropower generation in Turkey contracted to 12.7%, due to climate-induced severe droughts (REN, 2018).

In Africa, Angola has made significant progress in two large new hydropower projects. The Laitca hydropower project brought online two of its 334 MW turbines. These large hydro projects arc part of the Angola government’s national drive to increase its electrification to 60% across the country by 2025. Cote d’Ivoire has also inaugurated its largest hydropower project, which is the 275 MW Soubre hydropower project. This is part of the government’s new energy plans to double its generating capacity by 2020. This should improve the country’s electrification rate whilst diversifying its electricity and energy mix away from the dominance by natural gas with increasing shares of hydropower and renewables in its electricity mix. Sudan has also inaugurated its new 320 MW Upper Atbara and Setit Dam hydropower project. This hydropower project is linked to an agreement which will allow Saudi Arabia to cultivate land in Sudan within the vicinity of the dams. There have been considerable public objections with thousands of displaced local families complaining about the government’s lack of commitment to compensate them for farmland lost to the project. The tensions, between Ethiopia and its downstream neighbours Sudan and Egypt, have persisted over their serious concerns about the potential impacts of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on water flows in the Nile. The dam has also raised serious concerns about restricted sediment flows, which could potentially exacerbate the relative sea-level rises in the Nile delta (DW, Nile dam project, 2019).

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