A new report from research and consulting firm GlobalData has forecast that the global hydropower market will increase from $70.9 billion in 2017 to $86.2 billion by 2025.
The global hydropower market has always been a surprisingly overlooked renewable energy sector, despite being the most traditional form of renewable energy and with a significant install base. This is not to say that everyone has overlooked hydropower, but it has sometimes been dismissed due to its significant infrastructure costs.
According to GlobalData’s newest report, the global hydropower market is likely to benefit from a major boost in investment which will see an increase in the number of installations, especially in countries such as China, Brazil, and India — all of which are countries looking at all avenues to increase their renewable energy capacities.
“Policy support and environmental concerns for clean energy generation are important factors driving the global hydropower market,” said Anchal Agarwal, Power Analyst for GlobalData. “The recently adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals, for example, which supersede the millennium development goals, include a special goal related to energy which encourages the share of renewable energy by 2030.”
In 2015, 33 gigawatts (GW) worth of new hydropower capacity was installed, according to figures provided by the International Hydropower Association (which has yet to publish 2016 numbers).
According to GlobalData, cumulative global hydropower installations reached 1,211.3 GW in 2016, and are expected to reach 1,691 GW by 2025. Large hydropower plants are the major source of new capacity and baseload power, but pumped storage is growing and is helping meet peak power demand. Global hydropower demand is also expected to push the market forward, increasing from 21.7 million GWh in 2017 to over 27 million GWh by 2025.
“In terms of individual countries, China will continue to dominate market share, with installed hydropower capacity set to rise from 341 GW in 2016 to 442 GW by 2020,” Agarwal explained. “In order to achieve its carbon reduction goals, China is quickly exploring low-carbon generation technologies, including nuclear, wind, and solar power. The flexible characteristics of hydropower, including pumped storage, facilitate the increased grid penetration of wind and solar.”