15 July 2020
European governments should scale-up their pumped storage capacity, according to the EU Parliament.
MEPs voted resoundingly in favour of a report on energy strategy last week which describes the hydropower technology as playing “a crucial role in energy storage”.
Tabled by Claudia Gamon MEP, the report calls on EU member states to fully explore their energy storage potential looking a range of solutions including pumped hydro. It also requests the European Commission develops a comprehensive strategy on storage in line with renewables targets.
Backed by 557 parliamentarians, with 22 voting against, the report notes that “the EU is not exploiting the full potential of this carbon-neutral and highly efficient way of storing energy.”
“With an efficiency degree of 75-80 per cent, [pumped storage hydropower] accounts for 97 per cent of the EU’s current energy storage facilities. It is a well proven and efficient way of storing energy at competitive costs.”
A series of recommendations are made to remove regulatory barriers to pumped storage projects, including double-charging, tax and permitting obstacles that can delay or hinder market uptake.
In addition the report:
- Urges EU member states to seek ways to enhance pumped storage hydropower (PSH) capacity, alongside multi-purpose uses of existing and new reservoirs
- Calls on member states to remove any administrative obstacles to delayed projects, and provide regulatory support for innovative approaches
- Points to the opportunities and environmental benefits of upgrading existing capacity for storage applications
Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), commented: “The resounding vote by the European Parliament recognises the obvious: we need more energy storage. That will not happen by magic. European politicians have a huge opportunity as part of green economic stimulus packages to facilitate pumped storage hydro development through enabling policies and incentivising markets."
According to IHA’s 2020 Hydropower Status Report, the European region - including non-EU member states such as the United Kingdom and Turkey - has a total installed capacity of 55 gigawatts. Reflecting the slow growth in additional pumped storage capacity, just four MW of additional capacity was added across the region in 2019.
Twelve proposed pumped storage projects were included in the European Commission’s list of cross-border Projects of Common Interest (PCIs). Recommendations were also published as part of the EU Taxonomy for sustainable finance, in the form of guidance and eligibility criteria for investments into sectors. These support green growth and align with the EU’s net zero 2050 target, including hydropower.
The EU commission has also recently launched research and innovation initiatives focusing on hydropower’s potential, including Hydropower Europe, XFLEX HYDRO (Hydropower Extending Power System Flexibility), and Hydroflex.
Learn more about pumped storage hydropower by downloading IHA’s working paper: ‘The world’s water battery: Pumped hydropower storage and the clean energy transition’
8 July 2020
The world’s leading renewable associations have issued a joint statement setting out policy priorities for a green recovery involving accelerated clean energy deployment.
Under the banner of the International Renewable Energy Alliance (REN Alliance), the five associations representing the bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind power industries say a world powered 100% by renewable energy will only be achieved by greater technology integration.
“Together, the renewable energy technologies are greater than the sum of their parts. A significant increase of investment in renewables will fuel economic growth, create employment and contribute to a climate-safe future,” they say.
The alliance’s six-point joint statement calls for
- Accelerated renewables deployment, especially in heating, cooling and transportation, also by connecting all sectors
- Substantial financial incentives for renewables to create a competitive advantage for end-users and encourage self-supply
- Additional benefits and services of renewables to be considered when designing market mechanisms, not just lowest price
- Broader policy frameworks devoted to a just and inclusive energy transition
- Development of green skills and renewable jobs offered to communities
- Mapping and promotion of the health benefits of a green energy-based economy
The International Renewable Energy Alliance (REN Alliance) brings together five renewable industry organisations to promote the use of renewable energy technologies worldwide: the International Hydropower Association, the International Geothermal Association, the International Solar Energy Society, the World Bioenergy Association, and the World Wind Energy Association.
The goal of the REN Alliance is to foster collaboration among renewables, promoting successful implementation strategies, enhancing business conditions and developing markets. This is done by providing reliable information to inform decision-making nationally and internationally to further the principles and goals set out in the 2004 Bonn Declaration on Renewable Energies.
Last week the REN Alliance hosted an online conference together with senior representatives of the International Energy Agency (IEA), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the REN21 think tank. The organisations examined how renewable industries, working together, can scale up climate action and accelerate access to clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for all. Watch the webinar
In 2019, renewables contributed just over a quarter (27.3 per cent) of total global electricity production according to REN21’s Global Status Report. Hydropower is the single largest contributor of clean electricity at 15.9 per cent, followed by wind power (5.9 per cent), solar photovoltaics (2.8 per cent), bioenergy (2.2 per cent) and geothermal and other sources (0.4 per cent).
30 June 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has created the biggest global crisis in generations, aside from the climate crisis. While some of the lockdown measures are being eased, governments are devising stimulus and recovery packages to shape societies and economies for years to come.
Over the last months, we have seen how the proportion of energy supply met by renewables has reached historic highs in China, Europe, India, the UK, and the USA. This continues a trend seen since 2011. But the pace of change is not enough to meet the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement.
A global green recovery is needed. Increasing the investment priorities in renewables will fuel economic growth, create employment opportunities, enhance human welfare, and contribute to a climate-safe future. Bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind offer ready solutions to combat climate change; sustainable, decarbonised economies; and resilient inclusive societies.
This webinar hosted by the REN Alliance focused on the trends and opportunities for how bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind technologies can work together to create a ‘green COVID-19 recovery’.
Speakers representing each of these technologies presented on how renewables working together can build on Covid-19 recovery strategies to scale up climate action and accelerate access to clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy for all.
• Eddie Rich, Chair of REN Alliance and IHA CEO
• Rana Adib, Executive Secretary at REN21
• Roland Roesch, Deputy Director, IRENA Innovation and Technology Center
• Paolo Frankl, Head of the Renewable Energy Division at IEA
• Bharadwaj Kummamuru, Executive Director at the World Bioenergy Association (WBA)
• Marit Brommer, Executive Director at the International Geothermal Association (IGA)
• Cristina Diez Santos, Senior Analyst at the International Hydropower Association (IHA)
• Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General at World Wind Energy Association (WWEA)
• Jennifer McIntosh, Executive Secretary at the International Solar Energy Society (ISES)
The Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program is now accepting applications for the 2020 - 2021 year
The program provides an opportunity for women to connect, generate new friendships and networks, and share experiences in a supportive environment.
It is supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), WaterPower Canada, the U.S. National Hydropower Association (NHA), Northwest Hydroelectric Association (NWHA), Midwest Hydro Users Group (MHUG), and HydroVision International.
Launched in 2017, the goal of the Program is to create a meaningful connection where the mentor and mentee become collaborators in each other’s success.
“The feedback about women’s experiences in this mentorship program has been overwhelmingly positive and illustrates how critical women to women mentorship is.” says Nora Rosemore from Minnesota Power, who serves as the Chair of the Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program Steering Committee.
A volunteer steering committee, passionate about mentorship and supporting women in the hydro industry, match the applicants into traditional or reciprocal mentorship pairs. Each mentorship pair is unique and adapts to a relationship style and meeting format that works best for them, meeting once a month for eight months, from October to May.
Applications close on 3rd August 2020 and pairings will be announced in September.
Steering Committee Members:
Nora Rosemore – Minnesota Power
Dawn Presler – Snohomish PUD
Amanda Blank – Alliant Energy
Kelly Schaeffer – Kleinschmidt
Kelly Maloney – Brookfield Renewable
Kristina Newhouse – Avista Utilities
Stephanie Hun – SNC Lavalin
Yiying Xiong – RTI International
24 June 2020
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has outlined a Covid-19 recovery plan involving a major scaling up of global investment in sustainable hydropower projects to more than US$70 billion annually.
The agency’s report published today, Post-COVID Recovery: An Agenda for Resilience, Development and Equality, recommends a range of measures that should be adopted by governments over the next three years, and beyond.
Scaling-up public and private energy spending to US$4.5 trillion per year would boost the world economy by an additional 1.3 per cent annually, creating 19 million additional energy transition-related jobs by 2030, IRENA says.
Jobs in the renewables sector could triple to 30 million by 2030, with IRENA estimating that every million US dollars invested in renewables could create three times more jobs than in fossil fuels.
“Renewables have proven to be the most resilient energy sources throughout the current crisis,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. “This evidence should allow governments to take immediate investment decisions and policy responses to overcome the crisis.
“With today’s recovery plan for governments, IRENA uses its global mandate on energy transitions to inform decision-making at this critical time, while staying on course toward a fully decarbonised system by 2050.”
For the hydropower sector, the report states:
Annual investment in hydropower (excluding pumped storage) should increase from US$22 billion to US$55 billion per year to 2030 to support the recovery and accelerate the energy transition. This represents a 150 per cent increase and is considerably larger than the increases needed for both wind (61 per cent) and solar PV (45 per cent).
For pumped storage hydropower, IRENA recommends an additional US$16 billion per year of new investment.
Fast-tracked licensing, streamlined permitting, centralised planning, customised loans and long-term power purchase agreements are among the measures needed to boost hydropower investment and development.
There is also a strong need to redesign power markets to provide stable long-term signals to renewable power generators such as hydropower while also rewarding short-term flexibility.
Through these policy actions and investment, hydropower could contribute three million jobs by 2030, up from two million today.
Many of the policy measures outlined the report echo recommendations put forward in IHA’s position paper released last month on the role of sustainable hydropower in the Covid-19 recovery.
Commenting on the IRENA plan, IHA Senior Analyst Nicholas Troja said: “Today’s IRENA report again highlights hydropower’s potential to create skilled jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions at scale, and help meet the flexibility needs of modern power systems.
“Supported by IHA and the sector, policy-makers must redouble their efforts to implement these sensible measures which would help unlock billions of dollars of investment in sustainable hydropower development.”
Read IHA’s Covid-19 position paper and related reports: