The Future of Small, Medium and Large Hydropower Technologies: Technology developments, key costs and the future outlook

Date: September 1, 2010
Pages: 125
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US$ 2,875.00
Publisher: Business Insights
Report type: Strategic Report
Delivery: E-mail Delivery (PDF)
ID: F92513D154FEN
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The Future of Small, Medium and Large Hydropower Technologies: Technology developments, key costs and the future outlook
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?
Dr Paul Breeze
Disclaimer
Executive summary
Introduction
The hydropower resource
Large hydropower
Small and medium hydropower
Pumped storage hydropower and renewable balancing
The environmental impact of hydropower
Hydropower economics
The prospects for hydropower

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO HYDROPOWER

Summary
Introduction
The structure of the report

CHAPTER 2 THE HYDROPOWER RESOURCE

Summary
Introduction
Estimating hydropower potential
Regional hydropower potential
Global hydropower production
Hydropower exploitation levels
Developing hydropower resources

CHAPTER 3 LARGE HYDROPOWER

Summary
Introduction
Hydropower plant categories
Types of large hydropower plant
Run-of-river hydropower plants
Dam and reservoir hydropower plants
Types of dam
Additional dam structural components
Turbines
Impulse turbines
Reaction turbines
Francis turbines
Propeller turbines
Kaplan turbine
Deriaz turbine
Turbine selection
Generators
Large hydropower plants in operation

CHAPTER 4 SMALL AND MEDIUM HYDROPOWER

Summary
Introduction
Terminology considerations
Small hydropower and renewable generation
Head heights
Site assessment and feasibility studies
Permanent structures
Turbines
Alternative turbine types
Generators
Small hydropower generating capacity

CHAPTER 5 PUMPED STORAGE HYDROPOWER AND RENEWABLE BALANCING

Summary
Introduction
Energy storage
Pumped storage hydropower fundamentals
Pumped storage technology
Variable speed pump turbines
Site selection
Performance
Operating plants
Hydropower and renewable support
Economics

CHAPTER 6 THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF HYDROPOWER

Summary
Introduction
General environmental considerations
Resettlement
Further consequences of inundation
Biodiversity
Increased seismic activity
Loss of cultural and religious sites
Methane production
Lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions
Sedimentation
Downstream effects
Cross-border disputes

CHAPTER 7 HYDROPOWER ECONOMICS

Summary
Introduction
Capital cost
Pumped storage capital costs
Cost of generation

CHAPTER 8 THE PROSPECTS FOR HYDROPOWER

Summary
Introduction
Hydropower consumption
Hydropower growth
Global warming scenarios
Hydropower prospects
Appendix
References

TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1: Annual hydropower output as percentage of total global electricity production (%), 2010
Figure 2: Global hydropower potential by region (TWh/y), 2010
Figure 3: Economically exploitable hydropower potential by region (TWh/y)
Figure 4: Exploitable hydropower potential by region (TWh/y)
Figure 5: Annual global hydropower consumption by region (TWh), 2010
Figure 6: Level of hydropower exploitation by region (TWh/y), 2007
Figure 7: The world's largest hydropower plants (MW), 2010
Figure 8: Head height classifications for small hydropower (meters)
Figure 9: Turbine types for different heads (meters)
Figure 10: Small hydro turbine efficiencies (%)
Figure 11: Global small hydropower capacity (MW), 2007
Figure 12: National pumped storage hydropower capacities (MW)
Figure 13: Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from power generating technologies (kg/MWh) 2008
Figure 14: Capital cost of US power generating plants, 2010
Figure 15: Capital cost of hydropower plants in Hawaii, 2009
Figure 16: Comparison of costs of plants entering service in US between 1990 and 1994
Figure 17: Hydroelectricity consumption in 2009 by region (TWh), 2010
Figure 18: Consumption of hydroelectricity for selected countries (TWh), 2009
Figure 19: Growth in global installed hydropower capacity by region (GW), 2010
Figure 20: Predicted hydropower growth for selected countries to 2035 (GW), 2010
Figure 21: IEA global power generation scenarios, 2008
Figure 22: Small hydro growth potential (GW), 2010

TABLE OF TABLES

Table 1: Annual hydropower output as percentage of total global electricity production (%), 2010
Table 2: Global hydropower potential by region (TWh/y), 2010
Table 3: Economically exploitable hydropower potential by region (TWh/y)
Table 4: Exploitable hydropower potential by region (TWh/y)
Table 5: Annual global hydropower consumption by region (TWh), 2010
Table 6: Level of hydropower exploitation by region (TWh/y), 2007
Table 7: Hydropower plant categories
Table 8: Types of large hydropower plant, 2010
Table 9: Types of hydropower dam, 2010
Table 10: Types of hydropower turbine, 2010
Table 11: The world's largest hydropower plants (MW), 2010
Table 12: Some national small hydropower limits (MW), 2007
Table 13: Head height classifications for small hydropower (meters)
Table 14: Turbine types for different heads (meters)
Table 15: Small hydro turbine efficiencies (%)
Table 16: Typical asynchronous generator efficiencies for small hydro projects (%)
Table 17: Global small hydropower capacity (MW), 2007
Table 18: Characteristics of a pumped storage hydropower plant, 2009
Table 19: National pumped storage hydropower capacities (MW), 2010
Table 20: Parameters indicating the environmental effect of hydropower developments (MW)84
Table 21: Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from power generating technologies (kg/MWh), 2008
Table 22: Hydropower project costs, 2010
Table 23: Capital cost of US power generating plants, 2010
Table 24: Capital cost of hydropower plants in Hawaii, 2009
Table 25: Small hydro costs for 100kW hydropower plant in UK, 2009
Table 26: Pumped storage capital costs, 2009
Table 27: Levelized cost of electricity from US plants entering service in 2016 (US$/MWh)
Table 28: Comparison of costs of plants entering service in US between 1990 and 1994
Table 29: Hydroelectricity consumption in 2009 by region (TWh), 2010
Table 30: Consumption of hydroelectricity for selected countries (TWh), 2009
Table 31: Growth in global installed hydropower capacity by region (GW), 2010
Table 32: Predicted hydropower growth for selected countries to 2035 (GW), 2010
Table 33: IEA global power generation scenarios, 2008
Table 34: Hydropower development prospects in Western Canada and Western US (MW), 2008
Table 35: Small hydro growth potential (GW), 2010

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The Future of Small, Medium and Large Hydropower Technologies: Technology developments, key costs and the future outlook
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