Hydropower is currently the most widely utilized method of renewable energy generation globally. Hydropower is fully capable of generating clean energy as well as servicing base load demand. One of the major advantages of hydropower is its non-intermittence. In most of the technologies currently used for generating hydropower, the plant operators have excellent control over both the load and output of the power plant. Hydro power plants can be classified into large, small, micro, and pico-hydro plants. The classification of hydropower plants into the aforementioned segments is generally done on the basis of generation capacity. Generally plants with an installed capacity of over 30 MW fall under the large hydro category. Small hydropower generally encompasses all plants having capacities between 100 KW to 30 MW, which both micro and pico plants have capacities below 100 KW.
Generally micro and pico hydropower plants are utilized in highly remote locations as a source of decentralized electricity generation. In terms of installed capacity, large hydropower plants have a clear majority and have been in existence for over three decades. Large hydropower plants are generally classified on the basis of type as impoundment plants, diversion plants, and pumped storage plants. Impoundment hydropower plants are currently the most common globally, and require construction of a dam. Similarly pumped storage hydropower plants also require construction of a reservoir and generally supply electricity during peak demand. Diversion plants commonly referred to as run-of-river hydro however does not involve construction of a dam and is emerging as one of the most preferred technologies for hydropower generation globally. Although renewable in nature, construction of large hydropower facilities generally entails massive capital expenditure, pollution during construction, and immense requirement for relocation and rehabilitation of affected stakeholders.
Large hydropower plants are also said to have derogatory impact on the environment and wildlife as well as result in floods if not properly constructed. With numerous negative sentiments surrounding such plants, acquiring permits for construction and financing are two of the major bottlenecks hydropower developers frequently face. China currently has the largest installed capacity of hydropower globally with 281.50 GW in 2013. Overall the Asia Pacific has the largest installed capacity of hydropower globally followed by Europe and North America. Hydropower has been utilized in over 100 countries currently, and generates nearly 15% of the worlds electricity supply. In Latin America, Brazil is the largest market for hydropower and the currently is significantly dependent on hydroelectricity for meeting its daily energy requirements. With increasing focus on addition of renewable energy generation capacity, the market for hydropower plants is expected to witness significant growth in the future. A major portion of this growth is expected to be driven by pumped storage and run-of-river hydropower plants. With negative public sentiment surrounding the construction of large impoundment hydropower facilities, the focus is expected to shift towards small hydro or other technologies which cause minimal ecological disturbance. Also with an increasing share of intermittent renewable energy generation in the global mix, a pressing need is being felt for energy storage systems.
A pumped storage hydropower plant which is an excellent method of energy storage is expected to be constructed across the world in the future. However in terms of growth in installed capacity, small and micro hydro plants are expected to outstrip large hydropower facilities primarily owing to an increasing demand for decentralized electricity generation globally. Some of the major players involved in hydropower plant construction include Alstom SA, Vattenfall AB, Hydrochina International Engineering Co. Ltd., and RusHydro among others.
This research report analyzes this market on the basis of its market segments, major geographies, and current market trends. Geographies analyzed under this research report include
- North America
- Asia Pacific
- Rest of the World
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