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Hydropower is one of the earliest sources of power exploited by man with water wheels of various sorts being built for at least two thousand years to provide mechanical power for milling. At the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century it remains by a large margin the major source of renewable electricity in use. In addition, hydropower has a major role to play in the balancing of other renewable sources of electricity on grids and its flexibility is likely to make it become an increasingly valuable resource.
Since this is a result of rain falling at higher altitudes, and since rain comes from water evaporated from the earth’s surface by the sun, hydropower is essentially a form of solar energy. The total amount of energy in rain, when taken across all the landmasses of the globe has been estimated to be over twice global electricity consumption in 2009. At least a quarter of this could be exploited economically today to provide electricity. While rainfall, and hence hydropower is not uniform across the globe, most regions excepting those that are primarily desert have access to the resource.
Large hydropower projects, generally categorized as those above 10MW in size though the definition varies, will be defined by the site at which they are to be built. Since all sites differ, both the plant layout and the components will be designed specifically for the site in question. In general high head sites offer the best potential since they provide more energy for a given volume of water. However very low head sites can also be exploited profitably. One of the principal choices at any site will be whether to build a dam and reservoir of whether simply to extract water from the flowing river, a scheme called a run-of-river plant. Small and medium hydropower encompasses plants with a range of capacities. These are generally further broken down in to micro, mini, small and medium hydropower though in some classifications the medium category does not exist. While the larger of these plants will be similar to large hydropower in their design and turbine technology, smaller plants may use different techniques to save costs.
Hydropower plants with a dam and reservoir can provide a degree of energy storage by regulating the rate at which water is allowed to pass through the plant turbines so that power is generated only when it is needed. A pumped storage hydropower plant is designed to operate entirely as a means of storing and then supplying electrical power.
Key features of this report
Analysis of hydropower technologies concepts and components.
Assessment of hydropower technologies power plant market.
Insight relating to the most innovative technologies and potential areas of opportunity for manufacturers.
Examination of the key technology introductions and innovations.
Identification of the key trends shaping the market, as well as an evaluation of emerging trends that will drive innovation moving forward.
Key benefits from reading this report
Realize up to date competitive intelligence through a comprehensive review of hydropower technologies concepts in electricity power generation markets.
Assess the emerging trends in hydropower technologies – including small, medium and large hydropower technologies, and pumped storage hydropower and renewable balancing.
Identify which key trends will offer the greatest growth potential and learn which technology trends are likely to allow greater market impact.
Compare how manufacturers are developing new hydropower technologies
Quantify costs of hydropower technologies, with comparisons against other forms of power generation technology, installation costs, and cost of electricity.
Key findings of this report
While the production of electricity from renewable sources other than hydropower has risen slowly in recent years, increasing from 1.8% in 2000 to 3.1% in 2008, the greater part still comes from hydropower.
Asia has the largest gross potential, estimated by the WEC to be over 16,300TWh/y, followed by North and Central America which together have gross potential of 8,054TWh/y.
Run-of-river plants can vary in size from 10MW to 1,000MW. In principle they could be larger than this but in practice individual plants are not. However a series of run-of-river plants on a single river might have a generating capacity of over 1,000MW. .
Small and medium hydropower projects are likely to cost from US$1m to US$100m, based on a typical capital cost of around US$2,000/kW.
The European Small Hydropower Association has estimated that within the 25 countries of the European Union the total installed capacity in 2004 was 10,800MW, slightly higher than the figure in Table 17, and that this capacity was provided by 14,488 individual small hydropower plants.
Key questions answered by this report
What are the drivers shaping and influencing hydropower technology development in the electricity industry?
What are the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of hydropower technologies?
What does hydropower technology power generation cost? What will it cost?
Which hydropower technology types will be the winners and which the losers in terms power generated, cost and viability?
Which hydropower technology types are likely to find favour with manufacturers moving forward?
Which emerging technologies are gaining in popularity and why?
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Original Source: Hydropower Technology Market
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