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U.S. report: Hydro to be fastest growing world renewable through 2030

A U.S. agency report predicts renewable energy, led by hydroelectric power, will be the world's fastest-growing source of electricity through 2030.

International Energy Outlook 2009, by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), predicts, from 2006 to 2030, world renewable energy use for electricity generation will grow an average of 2.9 percent per year and the renewable share of world electricity generation will increase from 19 percent in 2006 to 21 percent in 2030.

This is a change from previous years, when EIA predicted renewables' share would decrease to 16 percent in 2030 because coal and natural gas use was expected to grow faster. (HNN 6/14/07)

Renewable energy is the fastest-growing source of world electricity generation in the IEO2009 reference case, supported both by the expected high prices for fossil fuels and by government incentives for the development of alternative fuel sources," the report said.

EIA said the increase in renewable electricity supply will be led by hydropower, followed by wind. Of the 3.3 trillion kilowatt-hours of new renewable generation added over the projection period, 1.8 trillion, or 54 percent, is attributed to hydropower, while 1.1 trillion kWh, or 33 percent, is attributed to wind.

Greatest hydro growth in developing countries

The report noted the greatest increase in hydroelectric growth is outside the developed countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In the OECD nations, the majority of economically exploitable hydroelectric resources already have been used, and there are few large-scale hydroelectric power projects planned for the future," EIA said. In the non-OECD countries, hydropower is the predominant source of renewable energy growth, with mid- to large-scale hydroelectric plants expected to be completed in China, India, Brazil, and a number of nations in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Laos.

The report predicted world hydropower generation will increase to 4.7 trillion kWh by 2030 from 3 trillion kWh in 2006. Wind generation is expected to increase to 1.2 trillion kWh in 2030 from 100 billion kWh in 2006. Other renewables are expected to increase to 700 billion kWh in 2030 from 300 billion kWh in 2006.

Total world net electricity generation is expected to increase 77 percent, the report said, from 18 trillion kWh in 2006 to 31.8 trillion kWh in 2030. Greatest growth is expected in non-OECD countries where a large amount of potential demand remains unsatisfied.

International Energy Outlook 2009 may be obtained free of charge from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Internet site,

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