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11/10/22

New video series: ‘Driving the Future’ with hydropower

Introducing a new, three-part video series on the role hydropower plays in the energy transition.

Watch all three parts of the Driving the Future video series here.

We know what’s required to rapidly decarbonise and meet our net zero targets, but we have not yet acted at the scale necessary.

To secure our planet for future generations, we need to accelerate the energy transition. The good news is that we have the solutions and technologies in our hands today.

Hydropower is at the heart of this change. Although it is not currently as widely discussed as it should be, people have been relying on hydropower to produce renewable electricity for decades. For this reason, it has been described as the “forgotten giant” of the energy transition.

For a look at what we are already doing with hydropower, renowned Swiss adventurer and clean energy advocate, Bertrand Piccard, teams with science journalist, Sam Pauly, to set out on an epic 1,000km journey across Switzerland. The duo travel the whole way using only electric vehicles and visit several of the hydropower plants that produce the country’s green electricity.

Understanding hydropower

One major advantage of hydropower is that it delivers a consistent flow of electricity, unlike “intermittent” renewable options like solar and wind. Pumped storage hydropower can even store clean energy, acting as a reliable battery when intermittent renewables can’t fully meet electricity demand.

Driving the Future aims to build awareness ahead of the International Hydropower Association’s first ever Global Hydropower Day. Increasing hydropower capacity worldwide is essential to reaching net zero, so this series explores advances that have been made internationally, including major steps in Europe, China and India.

Switzerland is one of the world leaders in hydropower, with almost 60% of the country’s electricity coming from hydro plants, and so provides a perfect setting for the series. On their journey, Bertrand and Sam learn about the latest in hydropower technology at Nant-de-Drance, how older plants like Bitsch can be given a new lease of life, and how the Limmern facility combines the best of multiple renewable energy sources.

Leading the conversation about a carbon-neutral future

Generating power sustainably is just the start, so Bertrand and Sam also look at other parts of the picture. In Lausanne, for example, they discuss the importance of electrification while trying out new electric boats on Lake Geneva and visiting an electric car charging station. Plus, the pair discover how sectors like agriculture can decarbonise while visiting Unterbuck, an innovative carbon-emission-free farm.

Along their journey, our adventurers also speak to key experts and decision-makers, including a stop-off in Bern to meet the current President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignacio Cassis. They also hear from Norwegian politician Erik Solheim, the former Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme; Pascal Radue, the President and CEO of Hydro Solutions at GE Renewable Energy; Claudia Dobles Camargo, the former First Lady of Costa Rica; and Pablo Valverde, the Deputy CEO of International Hydropower Association, among others.

All the individuals they encounter are passionate about using renewable energy sources like hydropower to improve sustainability and drive forward the changes the world must make today.

The race is on!

This isn’t simply a story about zero-carbon vehicles and hydropower; it’s about reimagining the way we live, travel, and consume, applying existing technology, and accelerating the energy transition so we can overcome humanity’s greatest challenge.

Bertrand and Sam’s Swiss adventure proves the potential that this approach has, now it’s up to us to follow through. As Bertrand puts it, “change is needed, and the solutions are already in our hands – the race is on!”

The video series is available now in three exciting parts. Watch it now

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