Hydropower retains its dominant presence in renewable power generation across Europe, but there is increasing concern about the impact of climate change on the European energy system as a whole. Adaptation and resilience will be key to future hydropower production in the face of more frequent and extreme weather events. Suzanne Pritchard reports
For two years running, renewable energy has produced more power than fossil fuels throughout Europe in the second quarter of the year. Accounting for 44.4% of all renewable generation, the largest contribution came from hydropower plants and, according to EnAppSys’ recent European electricity analysis, hydro looks set to remain the dominant renewable fuel source in Europe for the foreseeable future.
During Q2 2019, European hydro generated 109.2TWh, which was down 14% for the same period of 2018 - was a key factor in the overall 3% decline in renewable generation. Looking at the full picture, hydropower ranked second behind nuclear plants which generated 28.2% of total power. Hydro contributed 17.5%, gas and coal/ignite were third (17.0% and 14.7% respectively), followed by wind (11.5%), solar (6.5%), then biomass, oil, waste and peat.