Full Title: The Green Hydrogen Revolution: Hydropower’s Transformative Role
Author(s): International Hydropower Association
Publisher(s): International Hydropower Association
Publication Date: May 24, 2021
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Interest in hydrogen has risen markedly over the last two years. Governments have announced national roadmaps and strategies to scale-up hydrogen, with increasing recognition of its potential to replace fossil fuels in ‘hard-to-abate’ areas of the economy, such as in heavy industry and transport. Green hydrogen (H2), produced using decarbonized electricity and water through a process called electrolysis, is a particularly attractive option and set to grow significantly in the transition to a net-zero future.
As this paper will outline, ambitious growth in green H2 will significantly increase global demand for clean electricity. Coupling green H2 with renewable power offers strategic advantages, particularly in locations with access to readily available and low price hydro-electricity. Indeed hydropower has long been used to produce green H2 with large-scale electrolyzer plants operated in the 20th Century situated close to low cost hydroelectric generation. Looking ahead hydropower could play a pivotal role in supporting growth in green H2, potentially supplying at least 1,000 TWh of the additional electricity demand required in IRENA’s 2050 scenario. For even more ambitious scenarios that seek to limit the increase in global temperatures below 1.5°C, the likely demand on hydropower would be correspondingly greater. However, policy and regulatory frameworks must be updated to deploy hydrogen services and infrastructure at the scale now required.