While the use of hydropower is growing in popularity across the globe for its strong renewable energy infrastructure potential, nowhere in the world has seen greater growth in this particular sector than Latin America.
Dominating as the world’s highest hydropower energy producers, 65 per cent of Latin America’s energy generation comes from hydropower. This compares to a global average of approximately 16 per cent.
According to John Targett, vice president and executive projects director for Latin America at MWH Global, the already-stable sector is expected to grow even further as both foreign and local investment increases in the region.
“The potential for hydropower growth in Latin America is significant, and current generation is impressive,” says Targett. “As the cost of energy increases, there is a resurgence of hydro after development of some of the larger scale projects that were commissioned in the 1960s, 70s and 80s trailed off.”
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) states that South America in particular dominates the global hydropower market, with Brazil, Chile and Colombia the world’s greatest producers respectively.
As it stands, Brazil already garners 74 per cent of its electricity from hydropower, boasting the world’s second-largest hydroelectric infrastructure developments.
Other professionals in the sector have noted that Brazil’s potential for further growth is ‘huge’ with the renewable energy source labeled as ‘once of the area’s most valuable assets.’
Already, plans to further the country’s commitment toward hydropower are being undertaken with the $11 billion Belo Monte river project currently under development and the Santo Antonio facility on the Madeira River to be completed by 2015.
The green potential has always been high throughout much of Latin and South America, but Brazil stands out even further with major economic boosts from foreign US investors further stimulating the sector.
A move toward renewable energy is shaking up the status of traditional industry leaders. Where once the over-industrialised ruled as leaders of the modern world, we now see up-and-coming developing countries such as Brazil and South Africa, who are not bogged down by heavy carbon infrastructure, leading the way toward an environmentally responsible built arena.