Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Global hydropower growth slows: Canada continues to add significant new generation

The Worldwatch Institute released a report today authored by Evan Musolino examining global consumption and installed capacity of hydropower and geothermal energy sources.

Highlights of the Report follow below:

  • In 2011, global installed capacity of hydropower reached 970 gigawatts (GW), a 1.6 percent increase from the previous year, while geothermal cumulative capacity reached 11.2 GW, slowing to below 1 percent for the first time since 2002.
  • Hydroelectricity accounted for almost 6 percent of primary energy consumption among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
  • On a regional basis, South America and Central America are most dependent on hydroelectricity relative to total energy use. 
  • Although hydropower plays the least important role in the Middle East, the region experienced the greatest growth in hydroelectricity consumption in 2011, at almost 22 percent. North America was next, with an increase slightly under 14 percent. In contrast, usage fell by almost 9 percent in Europe and Eurasia and by 0.6 percent in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Although some 150 countries produce hydropower, half of the global capacity was concentrated in just five nations at the end of 2011. China remains the leader, with 212 GW installed, followed by Brazil (82.2 GW), the United States (79 GW), Canada (76.4 GW), and Russia (46 GW).
  • Hydropower continues to be one of the most cost-effective renewable energy generation sources. Typical costs are in the range of 2-13 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour for existing grid-connected hydropower plants and 5-10 cents per kilowatt-hour for new plants. Micro-hydropower installations (0.1 kilowatt to 1 megawatt), which are typically used in rural communities not connected to the national grid, generate at 5-40 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • Global consumption of hydropower continued to increase in 2011, reaching 3,498 terawatt-hours.
  • A total of 25 GW of new hydropower capacity was added in 2011, less than in previous years, with China, Vietnam, Brazil, India, and Canada responsible for 75 percent of the added capacity.

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