VGB Hydro – Publications
Our hydropower network produces a range of publications on hydropower's role, new trends and developments in the sector. You can browse available publications below.
If you are interested in publishing your publication, send us an email with a link to the publication and your abstract.
- Hydropower Industry Guide 2020/21
The Hydropower Industry Guide 2020/21 gives a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the newest products and services offered by the hydropower sector. It provides an easy-to-use directory of companies providing key products and services to the worldwide hydro market.
These products and services can help you do your job more effectively.
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- Hydropower in Europe Facts and Figures
Hydropower provides significant amounts of balancing power, enabling the efficient integration of the constantly increasing shares of variable renewables such as wind and solar power. Due to the projected increase in variable renewables, the importance of hydropower will even rise in the future.
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- Strategic Research Agenda of the EERA Joint Programme Hydropower
The “Strategic Research Agenda” of the EERA Joint Programme Hydropower identifies key challenges and opportunities for hydropower development and provides guidance to policymakers about future research needs.
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- Hydropower Fact Sheets
To properly advocate the important role of hydropower, Eurelectric and VGB have developed a set of fact sheets outlining hydropower’s capabilities, challenges, recommendations and key figures in 2018.
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- Water Framework Directive: Experiences & Recommendations from the Hydropower Sector
All hydropower installations and projects, small and large, are subject to strict environmental legislation to ensure their sustainability. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a central legislation piece in this regard. A holistic approach of European environmental, energy and climate policies is necessary to balance ecological, human and economic aspects and promote a sustainable use of water.
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- Hydropower – Part of the Renewable Family
Hydropower is at the heart of the renewable energy family according to a recent publication from VGB. As Europe’s citizens today largely support the use and further extension of renewable energy (RES), these have become a key element of EU energy policy. The central objectives are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce fuel dependency from third countries, and to decouple energy costs from oil prices. In this context, hydropower stands out as being indispensable for the future energy mix.
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- Hydro Equipment Technology Roadmap Global Technology Roadmap
The Hydro Equipment Technology Roadmap is an important contribution to the growing debate on hydropower, and is highly relevant for the discussions on R&D activities. It will help technology developers, planners, utilities and system operators to take balanced decisions on further hydropower development to enable Europe to benefit fully from this valuable resource.
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- Global Technology Roadmap
This Global Technology Roadmap sketches out the contribution of the hydro equipment industry to today’s and tomorrow’s energy challenges. The scope of this document includes the components that convert water flows into electricity; it does not include structure (e.g. dams and conduits).
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The whole of Europe is facing the challenge of transforming its energy management system into a more sustainable economic and decentralized system with a lower CO2 footprint.
Energy produced by hydropower plays a significant role in the realization of the ambitious European climate protection and energy policy objectives. Stable availability, high efficiency, flexibility and a long life-span further support the increased use of hydropower in the mix of energy production by renewable sources.
However, most of existing plants have been in operation over a number of decades. A reliable and safe operation over such a long time period can only be guar-anteed by way of regular maintenance measures. The costs involved can be stabilized and/or reduced through the utilization of innovative technological measures that are crucially for the competitiveness of the hydropower energy sector.
Additionally, digital systems play an increasingly important role in optimizing decision making and supporting business processes to position themselves more efficiently. In addition, more and more hydropower plants worldwide are due for refurbishment and modernization in the next few years, which raises the question of the extent of digitization for existing plants.
We are delighted to present you with this first issue of our annual Hydropower Industry Guide, a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the newest products and services offered by the hydropower sector.
An online Version with direct access in your browser is available on our YUMPU-Profile.
Hydropower is providing the future power system with storage and flexibility services, thus allowing for higher shares of wind and solar power without compromising security of supply and system stability.
Hydropower contributes significantly to achieving EU’s decarbonisation and renewable energy targets: With a total generation of more than 340 TWh generation per year of run-of-river and storage hydropower plants (without pumped storage) equalling to about 37% of the electricity generated from renewable energy sources and about 11% of the gross electricity generation of EU27 in 2018. Generation of renewable electricity from hydropower increased in the EU in 2018 by around 11% compared with 2017 (301 TWh).
The leaflet “Hydropower in Europe: Facts and Figures” includes facts and data on the following topics:
- Shares of hydropower capacity and generation
- Maps of installed capacities and gross electricity generations of hydropower
- Technical feasible hydropower potential
- Hydropower´s contribution to reaching the EU climate objectives
- Hydropower offers a wide range of ancillary services
- Hydropower is highly flexible, operating at all timescales
The Strategic Research Agenda represents a holistic cross-disciplinary approach and addresses technological, economic, environmental and societal challenges. It aligns research efforts across Europe to facilitate the new role for hydropower enabler of the clean energy transition and contributes to the implementation of SET-Plan priorities and the European Green Deal. Note: VGB builds the new link between JP Hydropower and the operative hydropower sector as a valuable pillar for the consequently, continuous innovation and research pathway for solving the challenges of hydropower in the future. VGB was elected to chair the Advisory Board for the years 2020 and 2021.
The “Hydropower Fact Sheets” consist of seven single fact sheets including policy recommendations:
- At the heart of the renewable energy transition
- More than power generation
- Enhancing EU security of supply and system stability
- The most efficient power generation technology
- Contributing to Europe´s economy and innovation
- A reliable and sustainable partner to tackle climate change
- Providing flexibility and storage for tomorrow’s renewable power system
The European energy system is undergoing a significant transformation (decarbonization, security of supply, deployment of renewables and their integration into the market) creating big opportunities and challenges for all stakeholders. Despite significant energy efficiency improvements, the overall demand for decarbonized electricity is set to be significantly higher in 2050 than today due to the decarbonization of the heating, cooling, transport and many industrial sectors, which can only be achieved via efficient and smart electrification.
In this context, it is often overlooked that hydropower plays a major role in meeting Europe’s ambitious energy transition goals today. In particular, it complements the increasing share of variable renewables in the European power system.
In cooperation with VGB Eurelectric recommends considering the following when evaluating the directive and
- Involve all relevant stakeholders in the development of the WFD to ensure a fair sharing of responsibilities and costs when defining and implementing mitigation measures to reach the Directive’s goals.
- Fully recognise the subsidiarity principle and allow Member States to take into account their specificities when implementing the WFD. Therefore, propose best practice procedures rather than unspecific standard solutions especially within guidance documents like those of the Common Implementation Strategy.
- Improve the implementation and governance of the WFD by using existing tools in a pragmatic and integrated manner and by systematically assessing the impacts of the River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) and their measures on the existing and future renewable power systems
- Keep Heavily Modified Water Bodies (HMWB) designation as a key category for the integration of ecological, human and economic aspects.
- Keep hydromorphological quality elements as supporting criteria since they serve as points of reference for the classification of water bodies.
Over the last decades, the hydropower companies have been pursuing multi-fold research targets concentrating on the improvement of the scientific basis for defining measures implementing the WFD as well as on topics with a different focus, such as storage, flexibility, markets, ancillary services as well as technical issues.
The report finds that hydropower is a frontrunner in renewable energy production at the global level where it provides over 1 billion people with environmentally-friendly electricity. It generates around 16% of global electricity production, which constitutes a share of 72.5% in global renewable electricity generation. In the EU with an annual electricity production of more than 375 TWh and an installed capacity of around 150 GW, hydropower remains the single largest source of renewable energy generation.
The publication finds that of the different renewable energy sources, the specific characteristics of hydropower make it the one which is indispensable for the energy mix of the future, for a number of reasons:
- The long-term profitability and independence from subsidies, contribute to price stability.
- Lowest CO2-emissions among all renewable energy sources are evidence of its environmental credentials.
- Other renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, generate electricity with high fluctuations. On the other hand, hydropower operates in a stable and predictable manner. Additionally the hydropower from storage and pumped storage plants can be used to stabilise the electrical system by using their reservoirs.
The publication states that the renewable energy “family” consists of different energy sources (e.g. sun, wind, water, biomass) and technologies we can use to exploit these sources. But hydropower differs from other renewable sources due to its large capacity range going from several kilowatts (kW) to hundreds of megawatt (MW), flexibility and storage capability when coupled with a reservoir. It can operate both in standalone systems as well as in grids of all sizes, so it delivers a broad range of services. Hydropower has very high conversion efficiencies (about 85 to 95%) and low operational expenditures.
Hydro equipment is widely deployed and the plants using it are little subsidised. But the sector cannot rest on its laurels. It is under strong and growing pressure to innovate. In Europe, the EU’s decarbonisation agenda is making new demands on hydro equipment, while abroad other manufacturers are threatening to take market share from a sector that is a valuable source of export earnings for the European economy. Even modest public support for some of the innovation work set out in this roadmap could pay dividends to the EU taxpayer.
This roadmap aims to
- show how deployment of hydro equipment can make a major contribution to satisfying growing electricity demand while minimising greenhouse gas emissions;
- raise awareness of the scale of the innovation challenge by enumerating research and development topics that could be co-funded with national or European money (including Horizon 2020) up to 2030;
- signal to other players in the value chain (especially utilities and TSOs) where the hydro equipment sector believes its innovation priorities should lie and sketch out the kind of collaborative work it wants to conduct with them.
The primary audience for the Global Technology Roadmap is international financing institutions and policymakers in countries with hydropower potential. NGOs, public and private sector researchers and the general public shall also find it interesting.
- Messages to policy makers
The industry operates in a tightly regulated space, shaped increasingly by policies to make energy affordable, secure and green. The Global Technology Roadmap outlines the hydro equipment suppliers’ requests to policy makers.
- Economic and social benefits
The Global Technology Roadmap sets out the megatrends in electricity demand and demographics to the middle of the century. It provides evidence of the direct contribution that hydro equipment (in its manufacture, installation and operation) is making to economic and social wellbeing.
The heart of this Roadmap is a section presenting the merits of hydro equipment technology and the services it provides to the energy system. Technology Outlook sub-headings outline the further developments and research needs to make hydropower even more productive and flexible.
- Sustainability – A driving force
Sustainability is taken seriously by the hydropower sector. Equipment has been and may further be modified to minimize any negative impacts on eco-systems and maximize any positive ones.