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The value of flexibility in hydropower: factsheets by IEA

Globally, hydropower accounts for 60% of all renewable electricity generation in 2020, making it the main source of renewable energy in the electricity industry. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Hydropower Association (IHA) expect that hydropower generation and installed capacity double by 2050.

Hydropower has the flexibillity to increase the production of electricity in the periods of shortage or by holding back hydric generation in periods of energy surplus. This is specially relevant in the current situation, where a wide range of variable renewable energy (VRE) resources are combined and need a degree of flexibility in terms of transmission, distribution and resources. In market-based systems, pumped storage hydropower, gives the opportunity too buy electricity at a lower price, that will then serve to pump and sell it back when necessary, thus increasing the value. This provides flexibility to the system.

IEA developed two factsheets that tackle the topic of flexibility from the point of view of hydropower:

  • Flexible Hydropower Providing Value to Renewable Energy Integration - read it here
  • Valuing Flexibility in Evolving Electricity Markets - read it here

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