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Renewable energies

Hydropower


Hydropower is the form of renewable energy that already accounts for a significant share of the power produced today. Latin America, for instance, covers more than two thirds of its energy requirement through hydropower, the vast majority of which is produced in large-scale hydropower plants. Globally, hydropower accounts for around 20 per cent of the energy produced – which is roughly equi­valent to the total amount produced by the European Union. Hydro­power combines two major advantages: Its production costs are low, and many reservoirs also provide numerous secondary benefits such as irrigation, water supply, and contributions to flood protection and river navigability.

Hydropower can therefore play a very important role in the further development of renewable energies. With each new power plant, however, the issue of sustainability must be examined with particular care. This is because the construction of new hydropower plants – and especially the construction of large dams – constitutes a major intervention into the natural environment and the lives of people in the region. Where resettlement is unavoidable, it is important to en­sure that the population are compensated appropriately and enab­led to participate in the benefits of the project. Furthermore, it must be ensured that their livelihoods are placed on a sustainable footing.

Germany supports partner countries in the planning and implemen­ta­tion of projects for sustainable hydropower utilisation, especially in the field of mini hydropower. Large-scale dam projects are supported only rarely, and must always comply with the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams (WCD). Projects are also promoted that modernise and recommission hydropower plants which have been decommissioned. This restored power supply is often prerequi­site to further development projects, for instance in the field of artisanal training.

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