Climate targets will not be met without hydro power

12 December 2012

‘Hydro power already provides base load and peaking supply in many countries but it can also provide important ancillary services. These include regulation, frequency response, reactive supply, scheduling and black start service,’ Tracy Lane, Programme Director from the international-hydropower-association (iha), explained. ‘Storage, in the form of water in a reservoir, can back up the variable production of other renewables by providing supply when others do not. Pumped storage hydro power offers the additional opportunity to pump water when other renewables produce surplus energy, thus ensuring that excess electricity is not wasted.’

Lane represented IHA during the side event ‘Towards 100% Renewables: Case studies and examples from regions and municipalities’, which was organised by the REN Alliance in Doha. Case studies of successful renewable energy systems were presented and Lane gave an overview of hydro power development in major world regions. She talked about Iceland where hydro power and geothermal synergies have been optimised to build a 100% renewable power and heat system.

‘Sustainable hydro power’s contribution to mitigation and adaptation to climate change is poorly understood,’ Lane said. ’Water infrastructure is critical to global water security and to ensuring resilience to the impacts of climate change. Hydro power can have a role to play in providing the financing for water storage infrastructure which is critical to adaptation in the water sector. Adding the hydro power component not only provides low carbon electricity but also enables communities to benefit from the multiple services of water storage such as protection against floods or droughts.’

IHA, as part of the International Renewable Energy Alliance, has been actively participating in the climate change conference to ensure that negotiations fully recognise the important contribution sustainable hydro power can make in fostering regional development in a climate-constrained world. The 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place in Doha from 26 November to 9 December 2012.

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