Hydropower’s benefits include providing clean, affordable electricity generation and energy security for grids increasingly reliant on fast-growing solar and wind power.
Wider benefits include supporting the decarbonisation of industries, as well as protecting communities through providing vital water management infrastructure.
The global initiative is spearheaded by the International Hydropower Association, with support from a coalition of developers, operators, manufacturers and industry associations around the world.
We can, with hydropower highlights how a pathway to net zero and greater energy resilience is possible by harnessing sustainable hydropower as a complement to variable renewables such as wind and solar.
It comes after world leaders at COP26, the United Nations climate change conference, committed to “phase down coal” and accelerate the shift towards renewables. While the Glasgow Climate Pact was welcome, governments have not made sufficient progress in planning for the transition.
Commitments now need to be translated into policies, investments and tangible action ahead of COP27 in Egypt this November. This initiative will shine a light on hydropower’s benefits and advance solutions for building a sustainable and secure energy future.
Countries around the world have set ambitious new targets to transition towards clean energy and achieve net zero goals. A huge increase in energy storage capabilities will be needed to realise these ambitions, in order to strengthen grids as wind and solar power is introduced.
Hydropower provides a clean, green, modern and affordable solution, with a very low carbon footprint compared to most other energy sources, including other renewables.
By investing in a reliable, renewable backup for variable wind and solar, we can make net zero goals a reality.
The International Energy Agency, in the IEA Special Report 2021, stated that “reaching net zero emissions by 2050 worldwide calls for a huge increase in hydropower ambitions”.
Hydropower provides an alternative to coal that can be developed at the scale needed to achieve our net zero goals. According to the IEA, around half of hydropower’s economically viable potential worldwide remains untapped.
In comparison to fossil fuel-fired generation, hydropower avoids up to four billion tonnes of additional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually.
Hydropower is the perfect complement to wind and solar power, providing flexibility and storage to make grids reliable when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
But the challenge we face is an urgent one. Due to hydropower’s long lead-in times, projects can take several years to complete.
Unless action is taken now to invest in new capacity and modernise the existing hydropower fleet, reaching net zero by 2050 may be out of reach.
With hydropower, we can…
We can, with hydropower calls on governments to implement the recommendations of the San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower, issued at the World Hydropower Congress in September 2021.
Find out more at hydropower.org/wecan and follow the hashtag #WithHydropower on social media to stay up to date with the campaign.
To learn more about the International Hydropower Association (IHA), visit us online at www.hydropower.org
- COP26 called for coal power to be phased down, with over 2,000 GW of coal capacity currently installed worldwide
- Global hydropower capacity needs to at least double to 2,600 GW by 2050 to put the world on a pathway to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C (IEA)
- Hydropower avoids up to four billion tonnes of additional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually versus coal-fired generation
- Around 60% of hydropower’s economically viable potential in emerging economies and developing economies is untapped (IEA)
- Investment in hydropower can help generate some 600,000 skilled jobs over the coming decade (IRENA)