IRENA says that hydropower needs to double by 2050

Hydropower’s crucial role in the clean energy transition has been highlighted again by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in their latest report on achieving global net zero goals.

The World Energy Transitions Outlook 2022 report repeats IRENA’s message that  to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, hydropower capacity needs to double to around 2,500 GW by 2050. The report states that, to stay on track, hydropower’s installed capacity (excluding pumped hydro) will have to grow 30 percent by 2030 to nearly 1,500 GW.

This will involve a step-change in average annual growth in new hydropower capacity to 31 GW in this decade. In 2020, new capacity grew by only 13 GW.

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA, said: “In this week’s report, IRENA says that hydropower needs to double and other renewables need to multiply by several factors by 2050. Along with this month’s painstakingly detailed, and terrifying, IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Change 2022, we are at what should be an earth-shattering moment.

Addressing climate change and energy security require the same action: we need a radically different long-term energy model based on affordable, clean energy.“

IRENA’s report recognises the need to leverage hydropower’s flexibility services to balance variable renewables, to help accelerate the decarbonisation of electricity grids. To achieve this, there is a need to urgently reshape market and regulatory frameworks to properly incentivise these flexibility services.  

We can with Hydropower, IHA’s latest public campaign, brings together a coalition of organisations and associations around the world in a shared effort to increase attention on planning for and supporting new hydropower capacity.

IHA will continue to work together with IRENA to facilitate public-private dialogue, strengthen international cooperation and promote sustainable hydropower through the development and dissemination of knowledge.

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