What is Sustainable Economic Development to You?

Reading this analytical, reflecting article “The demise of the nation state“, written by Rana Dasgupta and published in The Guardian on April 5th 2018, can be helpful in understanding the broader context of various earthly concerns, including anthropogenic climate change and its undeniable fact of being a global problem with a lack of respect for any inter/national borders.

Hence, every action taken by any nation around the world regardless of its geographical size or amount of population plays a crucial role in creating a healthier and more sustainable future. Countries that invest heavily in sustainable development, including renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources, are now pioneers and role models for less environmentally conscious and unsustainable states.

What makes your home country a pioneer of sustainable economic development? Please comment and share this post to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable economic development worldwide. Anne-Maria Yritys

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Forest Protection

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day?

How are you celebrating Earth Day today, April 22nd 2018?

I hope you are paying attention to the amount of garbage that people throw into our environment and our nature, almost everywhere. At least here in Finland, some people think it is normal to throw all kinds of garbage e.g. through the car window, from their boat etc. It looks horrible when you walk on the streets, and in nature. All the garbage on the walkways and streets, in the forests, lakes, everywhere. Throwing garbage into nature should be illegal.

You are smarter than that. You do not throw any kind of garbage/waste into nature. Perhaps you make others aware of this too, or even pick up some garbage while walking in nature.

Natural resources are becoming scarcer and more vulnerable. Our environment and nature cannot keep up with our current consumption habits. It is time to rethink, recycle, manage our resources better and with improved sustainability, because with a rapidly growing world population this planet becomes more crowded than ever before, while our environment has already suffered significantly. The evidence is everywhere: in our air, in our soils, in our water bodies.

In many major urban areas and cities worldwide, the air has become so polluted that people have to wear respirator masks due to toxic air quality. In many polluted cities, the air quality is so poor that you cannot even see the sky, at least not a natural sky. Instead, it is blocked by dirt and pollution, falling down on the ground as toxic rain or simply as toxic particles.

As a result of poor soil and wastewater management, whereby most of all wastewater is being dumped directly back into nature without any kind of prior purifying treatment, our soils are suffering from many kinds of problems, including acidity. Poor soil management leads to many additional problems, such as erosion, and a significant fall in nutrients in crops and plants.

Our water bodies, rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans, are more acidic than before. The actual numbers may sound low, but even small changes in acidity or chemical structure of a water body will have significant impacts and (possibly) lead to major problems not only in the water bodies themselves, including flora and fauna, but also to all life on Earth.

All vegetation on this planet, including forests, protect us from harmful toxins in the environment and in nature. Forests and trees all around our planet absorb much of the carbon dioxide and other pollution released into our atmosphere by human activities. Growing deforestation and poor forestry lead to additional environmental problems. Depending upon the environment and type of tree, it takes many years, even several decades, to replace a cut down tree by a new one.

Environmental protection and sustainable development is not only a task for environmentalists. It is something that concerns all of us. Every day. Everywhere. Us human beings cannot keep up with current practices, or how industrialization in the past century or two have impacted our environment and nature. Protecting the environment is not equal to giving up a good lifestyle. On the contrary, protecting our environment and developing sustainable economies will in fact improve our lives in terms of a healthy environment, air, soil, and water quality.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Looking forward to your comments. If you found this post helpful, do share it with your online networks.

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Why You Should Not Trust Your Government

 

If and when certain world governments could be mindful in 2018 and beyond, and stop meddling into the world´s natural climate/weather through GEOENGINEERING, our world population would be very thankful. How normal do the recent weather patterns in the U.S.A. seem to anyone? Stronger than ever hurricanes and floods in the Eastern U.S.A., while California suffers from extreme, sudden wildfires, and now, parts of the U.S.A. and Canada have extremely cold weather which is anything but natural.We can see it all over the world. In Finland, weather and climate are changing faster than in the rest of the world on the average. Is it not strange how suddenly parts of England are colder than Finland, with sudden snowstorms?STOP ARTIFICIAL WEATHER MANIPULATION WORLDWIDE! Do not trust your government.
Learn the facts and see what they are doing through GEOENGINEERING. 
How sick does this world have to be, with psycho´s even wanting to rule the world through artificial weather manipulation and controlling our world through such activities? Ask yourselves what you can do about it.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

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Photo Credit: Falk Lademann on Flickr

Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizing World Energy Market

Photo Credit: Falk Lademann on Flickr
MIT/Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Cambridge MA. Photo Credit: Falk Lademann. Flickr.

With a rapidly increasing number of companies using some form of artificial intelligence (AI), such as big data automation, predictive/prescriptive analytics, machine learning, expert systems, neural networks, interactive voice response technologies, and avatar technologies, in their business models, artificial intelligence is forecast to disrupt all industries. With only a small percentage of businesses not yet using or not even planning to utilize artificial intelligence in any way, some opinions state that within a decade from now, managers not using AI will be replaced by those who do. (Infosys 2017; HBR 2017).

The main reasons for applying various forms of AI, as the findings of the study “Amplifying Human Potential: Towards Purposeful Artificial Intelligence” reveal, were:

  1. Automation of IT processes
  2. Automate business processes
  3. Increase innovation
  4. Improve employee knowledge and skills
  5. Increase employee productivity
  6. Improve decision-making
  7. Increase revenues
  8. Save costs
  9. Improve go-to-market time
  10. Improve customer experience

(Infosys 2017).

As Franklin Wolfe writes in How Artificial Intelligence Will Revolutionize the Energy Industry, a special edition on Harvard University´s blog on August 28, 2017, artificial intelligence and the energy sector are becoming more and more interconnected, whereby choosing a career path in either of these sectors does not necessarily signify excluding the other. Phil Goldstein, on the other hand, writes in his article in BizTech on October 25, 2017 that AI can support the energy industry in many ways: in improving energy efficiency, predicting possible blackouts and failures, and even support human beings in detecting completely new sources of energy. (BizTech 2017; Harvard University 2017).

According to technology research and advisory firm Gartner, 85% of all customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020. Global Energy Business BP already explores how performance in the oil and gas industries can be improved with the help of artificial intelligence. According to technology expert Walker at BP, AI algorithms i.e. processes are about to transform how BP optimizes its operations. (BP 2016).

Learn more by watching Stanford Graduate School of Business´s video “Andrew Ng: Artificial Intelligence is the New Electricity”:

 

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Marine Energy Market In Its Infancy

Photo credit: Oceanflow Energy
Oceanflow Energy. 2008 – Evopod 1/10th Sea Trials @ Portaferry. Flickr. June 3, 2008.

Our world´s oceans, covering more than 70% of the Earth´s total surface, are an immense source of energy. Despite of the fact that the marine ecosystem and environment today are hardly utilized for energy creation, Mørk et al. (2010) evaluated in their study for the IPCC that our oceans and waves alone could theoretically provide double the amount of worldwide electricity supply. Nonetheless, marine hydrokinetic energy (MHK), also called ocean/tidal energy/power, in 2016 provided only about 536 MW of operating energy capacity worldwide. (EMEC Orkney 2017; REN21 2017; World Energy Council 2016).

In its infancy, marine energy resources are infinite, yet costs are still high and the financial environment and investments into marine energy have been challenging. Nevertheless, significant amounts of research and development projects are now taking place in many countries, with fresh implementations of marine energy devices recently. Majority of these R&D projects target tidal streams and waves, and a smaller proportion on thermal and salinity gradients. According to REN21, Canada, Chile, the Republic of Korea, the United States and a number of countries in Europe now lead projects related to marine energy. (REN21 2017).

Along with other renewable energy sources, marine energy could contribute to the diversification of the global energy mix while supporting countries in climate change mitigation and being one of the options for meeting the world´s continuously growing energy demand. Moreover, it could have socioeconomic benefits in terms of new job creation. The World Energy Council (2016) forecasts that if the energy production within the marine energy sector grows to 748 GW by 2050, this would create around 160.000 jobs by 2030.

The European Commissions Maritime Forum, the Ocean Energy Forum, states that ocean energy is the next generation of renewables with the capability of creating a completely new industrial manufacturing sector and a notable export market. The Ocean Energy Forum (2017) also forecasts that by 2050, ocean energy could meet 10% of Europe´s electricity demand with a deployment of 100 GW ocean energy on the continent. Government incentives and policies have a significant role in supporting ocean energy projects. Public opinion in Europe has been in favor of ocean energy research and development, and implementation. (REN21 2017; World Energy Council 2016).

An important socio-economic consideration with ocean energy, similar to wind energy, is energy security since variability is high on an annual and seasonal level, or in some cases, even on an hourly level. Forecasting is currently possible to about one week ahead. Under certain circumstances, ocean energy grids could face enormous pressure and coincide with alternative renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, with a possibility of leading to electricity blackouts if not resolved through energy storage systems. (World Energy Council 2016).

Possible environmental impacts of ocean energy include marine species colliding/interacting with ocean energy devices such as turbines and OTEC (ocean thermal energy conversion). Taking into consideration that underwater species communicate through sound, noise disturbance from ocean energy devices could have an impact on the behavior of marine species. Another potential risk on the marine environment could be the impact of ocean energy devices on the natural movement of water. Feasible advantages from ocean energy devices could include improved ecological and environmental water quality, reduced air and water pollution, or even attracting marine species as a safe haven and an artificial habitat. (World Energy Council 2016).

Learn more by watching U.S. Department of Energy´s video “Energy 101: Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy”:

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Photo Credit: Idaho National Laboratory

Biomass As a Source of Energy Worldwide

Photo Credit: Idaho National Laboratory
Biomass processing. Photo credit: Idaho National Laboratory. Flickr. March 14, 2013.

Biomass production, which is classified as a renewable source of energy, today accounts for 10.5% of the world´s total energy mix. Biomass is a term covering all non-fossil organic material and organic waste, such as forestry and agricultural residues, both from animal and non-animal farming, but also garbage and sewage sludge. With some concerns about biomass production on land replacing food production, this is an exception to the rule. Biomass is usually residue, waste or a by-product. Only biofuel production is known to utilize ethanol from corns: wheat, corn or sugar-beet. (Eurostat 2017; REN21 2017; Victoria State Government 2017; World Energy Council 2016).

According to the World Energy Council (2016), straw as a residue from food production is an example of biomass. Each year, billions of tons of straw, stalk, and foliage remain unused for biomass production. Instead, these are either allowed to rotten or burned freely, emitting considerable amounts of greenhouse gases into Earth´s atmosphere. All of this organic waste, when correctly processed, could instead be utilized as a source of bio energy.

Biomass as a source of energy production is supported by policies in many countries despite of ongoing discussion about the sustainability of certain bioenergy sources. This has led to uncertainties in some markets and affected the willingness to invest into bioenergy. Due to these risk factors, the bioenergy sector has adopted a number of standards, Sustainability Criteria for Bioenergy, known as ISO 13065. In 2016, primary energy supply for biomass was around 62.5 exajoules (one EJ = 1018 J; one J per second = one watt). While worldwide energy demand in the past decade alone has grown by 21%, bioenergy demand has within the same time frame, on the average, grown by 2.5% annually and persistently held its 10.5% share of the total worldwide energy mix. (ECOS 2017; REN21 2017).

In its Global Futures Report 2017 the REN21 states that while biofuels have most commonly replaced fossil fuels in the transport sector, it is not the only technology available. Electric vehicles are another option, with markets such as Norway pioneering the electric vehicle industry. It is largely a question of national policies and new investments into research and development that determine how well various fossil fuel-replacing options can penetrate into a specific market. A world powered with 100% renewable energy is possible, although current infrastructures limit and slow down the pace of renewables replacing fossil fuels, mainly due to socio-economic impacts. (REN21 2017).

Greenhouse gas mitigation and carbon taxes are main drivers for developing the bioenergy market, while drastically dropping oil prices in the past few years have both led to advancements and increased risks for the overall bioenergy market. In markets with zero competition from the fossil fuel industry, such as Sweden, bioenergy has gained significant foothold. Sweden´s pioneering development within the bioenergy sector has led to the fact that more than one-third of the country´s total energy use comes from bioenergy. Sweden is so efficient with bioenergy usage and recycling that the country has to import waste to meet its energy demand. The country aims at becoming 100% renewable in terms of energy. (World Energy Council 2016).

In comparison to for instance solar and wind energy, bioenergy production consumes considerable amounts of water, requires large areas of land and forests, possibly contributing to increased deforestation, unless managed sustainably. Despite of risks like deforestation, countries like Sweden and Finland are known to manage their forest resources in a sustainable manner on a global level, following the directives set by the European Union. (EUbioenergy 2017; European Commission/EU 2017; World Energy Council 2016).

Learn more about the topic by watching U.S. Department of Energy´s video “Energy 101 | Biofuels”:

 

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Photo credit: Ray in Manila

Welcome to Solar-Powered Earth!

Have you ever considered why, in 2017, around 16% of population worldwide lack access to electricity and energy? This, with today´s global population of approximately 7,6 billion signifies that an estimated 1,2 billion human beings currently live without access to any kind of electricity. Majority of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa, and around 300 million people in India. This in a world that could theoretically be completely powered through renewable sources of energy, such as solar power.

Perhaps it is not only a coincidence that population with no access to electricity live in warm, tropical climates. In colder climates, life and survival without access to energy, electricity, heat and power would make life much more challenging. However, if we think back in history, it has not been very long that our own ancestors and relatives lived without electricity and heating, even in cold climates. For instance my father, who was born in 1946, spent his childhood living in a home in Finnish Lapland without electricity. It is less than a century ago – to be precise, 71 years.

At that time Finland was a poor country, recovering and building a modern welfare society which today is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of democracy, education, healthcare, equality, human rights, just to mention a few attributes of a welfare nation. Modernization of a society, including allowing these 1,2 billion people access to power, can take place rapidly. If and when this happens, why not allow these people access to clean, renewable energy such as solar power?

According to the World Energy Council, government policies (and, legislation) have had an impact on the world´s most mature solar energy markets Australia, Europe, and the United States. However, costs for solar power are falling rapidly. The REN21 forecasts in its Renewables Global Futures Report that by 2050, the whole world could be 100% powered through renewable sources of energy, including solar power. Global installed capacity for solar-powered electricity has grown rapidly from basically zero GW in 2005 to more than 300 GW today, with a market increase of almost 50% in 2016 alone. Currently, solar PV provides the Earth with around two per cent (2%) of total electricity, with a capacity of more than 300 GW (one gigawatt equals one billion (1,000,000,000,000) watts). (IEA 2017; REN21 2017; World Energy Council 2016).

With most renewable energy being installed in developing countries, primarily in China, the sector employed 9.8 million people. The vast majority, 62%, of these jobs were in the biofuels and solar sectors, and mainly in Asia. In 2015, all renewable energy sources combined provided an estimated 19.3% of total global energy consumption. The leading countries in terms of total solar PV capacity in 2016 were China, Japan, Germany, United States, and Italy. Policy makers in almost all countries worldwide now support renewable energy development, with COP22 leaders from 48 developing countries dedicated to achieving 100% renewable energy in their nations. (REN21 2017).

In terms of solar PV capacity additions in 2016, China led the world market with a 46% share, followed by the United States (20%), Japan (11.5%), India (5.5%), United Kingdom (2.7%), Germany (2.0%), Republic of Korea (1.1%), Australia (1.1%), Philippines (1.0%), Chile (1.0%), and the rest of the world combined (8%). Reasons for deployment of solar power in countries worldwide vary from lack of fossil fuel resources, energy policies targeting to diversify a country´s energy portfolio, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. (REN21 2017).

Although oil and gas prices have been in decline, investments from a number of stakeholders, including corporations and financial institutions along with fossil fuel producers and oil exporting countries within the renewable and solar power sector continue to grow. Solar power is even being utilized for oil production. In 2015, total investment in the energy sector worldwide was USD 1.8 trillion, USD 161 billion of which was invested in solar power alone. (REN 21 2017; IEA 2016; World Energy Council 2016).

Learn more by watching Bloomberg´s video “The Way We Get Power Is About to Change Forever”:

 

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Photo credit: Paulo Valdivieso

Wind Energy Fastest Growing Source of Electricity Worldwide

Similar to hydropower, energy derived from water, wind energy has been utilized for thousands of years, merely with less advanced technologies than modern inventions. From the Nile River to China, the Middle East, America and Europe, wind as a source of energy was seized until oil and energy prices dropped. It was not until the 1970´s oil crisis that alternative sources of energy, such as wind, started to awaken new interest worldwide. Today, wind energy is the fastest growing source of electricity worldwide, and, it is a fossil-free, renewable source of energy. (Wind Energy Foundation 2017).

Worldwide, current wind power capacity with a total of 435 GW (one gigawatt equals one billion watts) covers seven per cent (7%) of total power generation capacity, while its actual total global power generation covered four per cent (4%) in 2015. The leading wind power producing country worldwide today is the United States, followed by China, Germany, Spain, India, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, and Denmark. Total installed capacity by world region is largest in Asia (180 GW), followed by East Asia (149 GW), Europe (148 GW), North America (86.9 GW), South & Central Asia (25.6 GW), Latin America & The Caribbean (12.3 GW), South East Asia & Pacific (5.61 GW), Middle East & North Africa (1.9 GW), and finally, Africa (1.48 GW). (IRENA 2016; World Energy Council 2016).

According to the World Energy Council, current policy plans could allow for wind power capacity to grow from 435 GW in 2015 (roughly 487 GW in 2016) to 977 GW by 2030. In China alone, wind power could provide 26% of all electricity by 2030. With the vast majority of wind power turbines onshore, worldwide investments in the sector are booming and hit USD 109.6 billion in 2015. In many countries today, onshore wind is the most inexpensive source of renewable energy, with costs falling rapidly and significantly. With a rapid and credible growth track record, the wind power industry is regarded as a low-risk investment, with financial institutions increasingly much competing about the funding of wind projects. Possible risks to wind project investments include policy uncertainty and long operational lifetimes. (Global Wind Energy Council 2016; World Energy Council 2016).

Both IRENA, GWEC, and the World Energy Council admit that there are multiple benefits from a growing renewable energy, including wind power, sector. Not only do renewable energy sources support socio-economic growth through the generation of new jobs leading to economic growth, but also supports the decarbonization of the global energy sector, thus leading to less pollution and improved environmental and human well-being. Investments and growth in the renewable energy sector are estimated to create millions of new jobs worldwide. (Global Wind Energy Council 2016; IRENA 2016; World Energy Council 2016).

As defined by the World Energy Council and the Global Wind Energy Council, wind power is leading the energy market in its transition away from fossil fuels on both performance, reliability and costs. Despite of some of its harms on the environment and ecological impacts, such as wildlife colliding with wind turbines and possible public health concerns through noise and visual impacts on people, wind power is known to be an environmentally friendly source of renewable energy, with a small land footprint, low water requirements and low greenhouse gas emissions. (World Energy Council 2016; GWEC 2016).

Learn more by watching U.S. Department of Energy´s video “Energy 101: Wind Turbines”:

 

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Photo credit: Paul VanDerWerf

Worldwide Geothermal Energy Potential

Geothermal energy is heat generated and stored in the Earth. It is also one of the many fossil-free, environmentally friendly, renewable energy sources that is as of today yet a rather untapped potential. The U.S. Department of Energy and the United States Geological Survey USGS estimate that if developed and utilized to its full potential, geothermal energy in the United States alone could provide the whole country with 10% of its required power. Not only is geothermal energy very low in emissions, making it one of the most valuable sources of renewable energy, but with advanced technologies this yet rather untapped source of energy can also contribute to efficient wastewater treatment and management. (U.S. Department of Energy 2014; USGS 2003).

BP Global states on its website that as a mature and well-established source of renewable energy, the overall potential of geothermal power in terms of electricity generation is higher than that of wind and solar energy. Despite of its tiny share (currently one per cent) of the total global energy mix, the role of geothermal energy is significant in a number of countries. Its power generation grew by 3.6% in 2016, and according to Renewable Energy World, geothermal energy is trending upwards. (BP 2017; Renewable Energy World 2017).

For instance in Chile, financial institutions are investing in geothermal energy in order to support the country in reducing its emissions with a target to meet the demands of the Paris Agreement, but also to expand the country´s energy portfolio. Between 2005 and 2015, the annual growth of geothermal power capacity worldwide averaged at 3.3%. Leading countries in terms of geothermal power capacity in 2016 were the United States, followed by the Philippines, Indonesia, New Zealand, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, Iceland, and Japan. (BP 2017; Renewable Energy World 2017).

In its publication “World Energy Resources – Geothermal 2016”, the World Energy Council reveals that El Salvador plans for four tenths of the country´s energy coming from geothermal by 2020. India, on the other hand, has an ambitious goal for geothermal development by 2030. Outright, the total worldwide capacity of geothermal power is forecast to double. The World Energy Council sees that geothermal power development has been slowed down by conservative legislation and a lack of government incentives which, however, could see changes now that countries work towards decarbonizing the energy sector in order to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, but also as an effort to diversify energy production and move towards clean(er) sources of power generation. Worthwhile to note, geothermal energy production releases very small amounts of greenhouse gases, and has few impacts upon the environment, allowing for renewable energy agencies to classify it as a renewable energy source. (World Energy Council 2016).

The World Energy Council estimates that in order to survive in the 21st century, the geothermal energy sector is obliged to innovate. Despite of its many advantages and many countries worldwide having access to geothermal power production, geothermal power production has historically primarily been used by countries that have lacked fossil fuel resources but have a high amount of geothermal energy resources, but also as a means to secure national energy resources as a part of a country´s energy infrastructure, and/or to diversify a country´s energy portfolio. While forecast that developing countries such as Kenya and Indonesia will tap into their abundant geothermal heat resources, advanced clean technologies and growing electrification of markets for instance in Europe will allow the geothermal energy sector to grow its capacity on developed markets as well. (World Energy Council 2016).

Geothermal power resources worldwide are estimated to contain 50.000 times more energy than all available oil and gas resources combined, speaking for the immense potential within the geothermal energy sector. In addition to being an environmentally friendly, renewable source of energy worldwide, unlike fossil-fuels such as coal, gas, and oil, advanced geothermal technologies are becoming cost-efficient. As of today, depending upon country and region, both access to funding and legislation are potential obstacles in terms of the geothermal energy sector to reach its full potential. (IRENA 2017).

Learn more by watching U.S. Department of Energy´s video “Energy 101: Geothermal Energy”:

 

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Hydropower by Josh Simmons on Flickr

The Global Hydropower Sector

Hydropower, the currently most important source of renewable energy worldwide, was first commercialized for the production of electricity in the Niagara Falls in 1879, although human beings had been utilizing more primitive versions of hydropower for centuries. The earliest hydropower usage can be traced back to the ancient Greeks who used simple water wheels in agricultural processes. (National Geographic 2017).

For instance in Finland, the role of hydropower is still today quite remarkable in terms of electricity production. According to Finnish Energy, at its peak in the 1960´s, hydropower accounted for 90% of all electricity generation in the country. Today, hydropower contributes to four per cent (4%) of Finland´s total energy mix, and annually between 10-15% of all electricity production, down from its impressive numbers in the middle of the 20th century. (Finnish Energy 2017).

Despite of being a renewable source of energy, energy authorities and companies admit to the environmental problems caused by dams and hydropower plants. Not only do dams and hydropower plants change natural water systems, but also prevent (fish) species in these water bodies from wandering. The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, FANC, supports consumers and the industry in improving the sustainability of energy and electricity consumption. It has launched the EKOenergy label, which has now become the international ecolabel for energy. (Fortum 2017; FANC 2017).

In terms of hydropower costs, the International Renewable Energy Agency states that on the average, electricity generated through the use of hydropower is inexpensive, with significant technical potential remaining untapped as of today. One of the obstacles in terms of fully utilizing the potential of hydropower worldwide, according to IRENA, is the absence of data in terms of these technologies. Despite of currently being the most widely used renewable source of energy worldwide with a total market share of 16% in the global energy mix, and more than 80% in the renewable energy mix worldwide, IRENA estimates that the usage of hydropower is far from having reached its full potential on a global scale, although for instance Norway gets more than 99% of its electricity from hydropower. (IRENA 2012).

The World Energy Council (2016) reveals that Asia as a continent has the most significant untapped potential in terms of hydropower, while currently much of the new development is focused in China (26% of the worldwide installed capacity in 2015), Latin America and the African continent. According to the World Energy Council, the average annual growth rate of hydropower worldwide between 2005 and 2015 was almost four per cent (4%). With the share of other renewable energy sources increasing, hydropower now accounts for 71% of all renewable electricity worldwide, a share that has fallen by at least 10% within a few years time only. The countries with the highest hydropower capacity worldwide in 2015 were China, USA, Brazil, Canada, India, and Russia. One major benefit of hydropower is its flexibility and the capacity to store energy even up to several months. (World Energy Council 2016).

In the 2017 Hydropower Status Report the International Hydropower Association insists that hydropower, when correctly and sustainably managed, provides a number of benefits in a world faced with complex problems such as expeditious population growth in addition to energy and water challenges. The IHA identifies following developments and key trends in the worldwide hydropower sector:

  1. Risk management initiatives established in terms of hydropower
  2. Co-operative projects within the renewable sector to secure grid stability
  3. Pump storage serves global requirements for energy storage
  4. Hydropower interconnected to global markets
  5. Modernisation of available assets within the hydropower sector
  6. Advanced reporting mechanisms are now at hand
  7. Sustainability performance reporting (The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol) is being implemented worldwide
  8. Climate resilience acknowledged and emphasized by financing institutions

Furthermore, the IHA recognizes climate change mitigation, including the Paris Agreement and the reduction of GHG´s, being at the center for strategic sustainable development. In terms of environmental protection, both the World Energy Council and the International Hydropower Association acknowledge the availability and deployment of modern technologies that have been designed to minimize the potential harms caused to both water sources and its inhabitants through the hydropower sector. (IHA 2017; World Energy Council 2016).

Learn more by watching U.S. Department of Energy´s video “Energy 101: Hydropower”:

 

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