A New Life for Old Giants - Hydropower and Geothermal


This chapter provides an overall overview of hydropower genera on and geothermal energy in the context of their current status from both technical and societal standpoints around the world. The overview is intended to be at a high level without focusing specifically in a given area or details. Hydropower and geothermal are classical sources of energy used for power genera on and other applica ons, with hydro more common than geothermal for power produc on. Both are considered strong green-energy sources by the public; however, a closer analysis of hydropower raises ques ons about its sustainability, and environmental and social impacts. There could be substan al greenhouse gases produc on from hydro depending on loca on and surrounding areas. Geothermal is more eco-friendly, but its development has been somewhat stagnant despite of its great poten al. Geothermal today only accounts for about ∼0.5 percent of the world’s renewable energy capacity, while hydropower accounts for ∼48 percent. Both energy sources and their associated technologies con nue to face problems with societal and community impacts; in par cular, hydroelectric facing more challenges than geotermal. Sustainability efforts had focused mostly on environmental issues ignoring significantly the socio-ecomic impact on local communi es. Both sectors continue to play a significant role in the renewable energy mix. Although it is difficult to predict their growth and future impacts, it seems that the growth rate of hydropower would be slower than that of geothermal. It is also likely that countries and communi es modify current development models and prac ces to increase their long term sustainability, in general.

Handbook on the Geopolitics of the Energy Transition