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Hydropower Trends in 2023 – The Hydro Story Across Three Continents

Power demand is invariably going up, with tremendous pressure being put on hydro as a renewable provider. Alongside demand, energy market volatility, environmental regulation, and plant operating costs also go up. How does the global hydropower industry react to these trends and what are the solutions proposed and hydropower trends emerging?

Our #HYDROGREAT team gathered firsthand answers to these questions from three continents! Special thanks to organizers Renewables Norway, and Småkraftforeninga in Norway, CEATI International in the US, and ABRAPCH – Associação Brasileira de PCHs e CGHs in Brazil, for bringing together amazingly talented people with a passion for hydro and its’ promise of a greener future.

Great Industry Insight from the US Hydropower Market!

In the US context, the story of hydropower and its role in the energy transition is evolving, and experts are emphasizing the urgent need for education both within the industry and in society as a whole. Due to a lack of public awareness regarding hydropower’s true impact on the grid, there are concerns that future investments in hydropower may be negatively affected. Additionally, while the conversation around the sustainability of hydropower investments is gaining importance in the US and Canadian markets, there is a lack of strong communication regarding the data that supports hydropower as a sustainable source of renewable energy.

As hydro takes its place in the renewables mix, the full value of hydro assets has to be explained and highlighted.

Experts Advocate for Resilient SmartHydro Solutions in Europe

In response to sudden market fluctuations in water value on the European power market, experts such as Ciro Taranto are advocating for robust plant operation that can adapt to unpredictable events in strategic ways. At PTK Norway, we presented on maximizing water value during a “Black Swan” event, using Nassim Taleb’s principles to demonstrate how hydro power generators can address unknown unknowns.

Unpredictable events are far from limited to power market shocks, and Europe has seen it’s fair share of them in the past two years. A resilient #smarthydro solution as presented by Ciro can maintain full functionality regardless of the changes in application, and this is considered the true challenge for smart hydropower plant operation in Europe.

Alessandra Torres on the Future of Brazilian Hydro

In the Brazilian hydroelectric generation market, the primary obstacle is to dispel the doubts that have arisen in recent years. Despite the need for new hydroelectric plants to balance a grid that relies on variable sources like solar and wind, there is still uncertainty surrounding the sector. Unfortunately, the only alternative to hydropower for grid balancing still involves CO2-intensive technologies.

It is necessary for the Brazilian government to rethink the environmental policies that antagonise hydroelectric production.

Power Generation Lagging Behind Demand

Norwegian energy demand is expected to rise above current renewable capabilities and forecasted developments. The hydropower trends and topics of Småkraft Dagene revolved around ensuring stable, green energy in a faster, more efficient and resilient way that meets demand growth. Whether hydropower will be able to fill this gap depends on future investments in new projects and the modernization of existing infrastructure.

Accelerating development and maximising existing potential of current assets has become the first agenda item for the entire Norwegian hydro industry space.

Where to Meet Us Next

HYDROGRID is headed to more events this year, and we are always eager to share our market expertise with you! Look out for us at SWV in Switzerland August 31st – September 1st, at HYDRO2023 in Edinburgh October 16th- 18th, and the World Hydropower Congress in Bali  31st October – 2nd November.

In the meantime, you can always reach out at to discover how to bring #smarthydro to your entire portfolio!

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