Hydroelectric power is the most widely utilised source of renewable energy globally. With annual production estimated at 4.2 TWh, it accounted for around 16% of global power generation in 2018. When it comes to sustainability, hydroelectric power performs especially well – not only in comparison to non-renewable energies, but also when pitted against solar and wind energy.
However, operators are increasingly needing to account for market factors which are having a negative effect on the profitability of hydroelectric power plants.
Prolonged excess capacities, the prioritisation of wind and solar energy feed-in and subsidised feed-in tariffs are reducing the price of power. Cheap nuclear power and the continued production of energy from fossil fuels are, depending on the region, also contributing to the lower profitability of hydroelectric power. Then, add to this growing environmental regulations and still inexpensive CO2 certificates.
This is why one of the goals of hydroelectric power plant operators is to boost the efficiency of their plants. While this can be accomplished with expensive modifications and capacity expansions, often-underestimated measures such as high-performance lubricants can also contribute to greater energy efficiency, thus increasing profitability while improving a plant’s ecological footprint.