How hydropower can contribute to flexible, stable and low-carbon grids

Singaraja 1
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
11:30 – 12:30 WITA


Over the last century, electric power systems have relied on the stability provided by a fleet that is highly dispatchable – power plants that can control and adjust their power production to demand, such as coal, gas, nuclear and hydropower. As of today, these resources combined are responsible for almost 90% of the global electricity generation. But this landscape is rapidly changing.  

The pathway to a decarbonised economy relies heavily on a dramatic shift in the composition of the world’s electricity-generating fleet. Wind and solar contributions will grow to 70%, while coal, oil and gas capacity will need to reduce at a rate of 100 GW per year.  

Hydropower is not only today’s main source of low-carbon electricity, but it is also equipped to become the lead provider of grid flexibility – it is the backbone of reliable, safe, and decarbonised power systems.  

This session will explore hydropower's critical role in enabling the energy transition and how it supports keeping the lights on.


Session objectives

The focus of this session is to understand the role of hydropower in electricity power systems of the future; transitioning from a base load power contributor to the “guardian of the grid”. It will review and debate hydropower’s capabilities of handling grid stability, daily, weekly, seasonally, and the annual mismatch between demand and variable renewable energy production.

Panellists will:

  • Present cases, from utility companies’ perspectives, of electricity markets where hydropower is already designed and utilised to play this role
  • Discuss with turbine suppliers how this is impacting the hydropower equipment market and R&D
  • Discuss the value of flexibility and how it is currently recognised in electricity markets


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