Energy bears the overall sustainable development of mankind, and clean energy development is core to sustainable development. The world is constantly confronted by challenges such as resource shortage, climate change and environmental pollution. Tackling these challenges is time critical to ensure we are self-sustainable. On the basis of quantitative assessment of hydro, wind and solar energy resource reserves across all continents; relying on abundant renewable energy resources and upholding the concept of green and lowcarbon development; the need to promote development and investment of centralized largescale renewable energy bases; enhancing the development of clean energy and promoting the formation of a new energy pattern featuring renewable energy and extensive connectivity; are factors for resolving the energy crisis dilemma and also the only approach to achieve a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development of economic growth, social growth and ecological protection.
The report presents a set of well-defned, systematic, comprehensive and operable algorithm models, laying a foundation for completing the global assessment research of hydro, wind and solar energy resources based on unified standards and data sources. In terms of data, resource data is a necessary component for carrying out assessment research. To further meet the requirement of digital and multi-dimensional assessment, geographic information data such as land cover distribution and data related to human activities such as transportation and power grid infrastructure distribution are introduced in the report. The report includes a computable basic information database which comprises of three categories and 18 items used globally by adopting a data fusion algorithm. As for the model, a comprehensive description is given to the technical route of hydro, wind and solar energy resource assessment in the report. It is a quantitative assessment model with multiple dimensions in terms of theory, technology and economy providing an efficient algorithm based on parallel computing framework, and defines the scientific connotation, assessment process, calculation method and recommended parameters of main assessment criteria.
In the report, a fine assessment is conducted on global hydro, wind and solar photovoltaic resources. Using a digital assessment model and based on the analysis of development conditions and constraints, it calculates the theoretical potential, technical potential installed capacity and development costs.
Hydropower resources are renewable energy that has been developed with the most advanced technology and on the largest scale. In the report, the estimation of the total hydropower resources of rivers in the world is completed, with a total theoretical potential of 46,181 TWh/a, among which the theoretical potential of 205 river basins with good hydropower development value is 39,561 TWh/a, accounting for about 85%. Using the digital platform, a detailed comprehensive assessment was conducted on 64 large river basins across six continents’mainstreams, tributaries and various analyses. The theoretical potential of hydropower is 28,076 TWh/a, which is widely distributed in China, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries. It is expected in the future, the regions with great potential for global hydropower development will mainly be concentrated in Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the western and northern parts of South America. The "golden mile" for future global hydropower development will be distributed among the high mountains where there is middle to low attitudes of the northern and southern hemispheric regions.
Wind energy sources are abundant globally and have great potential for development, in areas such as West Asia, North Africa and southern South America have excellent conditions for development. It is estimated that the theoretical potential of wind energy around the world exceeds 2 EWh/a, and the installed capacity scale suitable for centralized development exceeds 130 TW. All of which are mainly distributed in western Asia, northern Europe, northern Africa, northern regions of North America, southern regions of South America and western Oceania. The annual power generation is 347 PWh, which is more than 10 times the current global annual power consumption. By 2035, combining the economic estimation results of wind power generation globally, while considering the development costs such as transportation and power grid integration, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of centralized wind power development in 200 countries and regions around the world is 1.98-7.72 cents/kWh. With it, the global average LCOE is about 4.1 cents/kWh. The Red Sea coast of East Africa, the southern regions of South America and the North Sea of Europe have excellent conditions for centralized development of wind power, which are the “wind poles” of the world. Argentina, Kenya and similar countries have better cost-effectiveness in the development of large-scale wind power bases for their excellent resource conditions and better transportation and power grid infrastructure.
The abundant solar energy resources around the world can provide inexhaustible energy for human development. West Asia, North Africa, South Africa and western South America have particularly favorable conditions for development. It is estimated that the theoretical potential of wind energy around the world exceeds 208 EWh/a. Noting the installed capacity suitable for centralized development is around 2,647 TW. These bases are mainly situated in western and central Asia, northern and southern part of Africa, southwestern part of North America, western part of South America, central and northern part of Australia within the Oceanian region. The annual power generation is 5,002 PWh, which is more than 200 times larger than the current global annual power consumption. By 2035, combining the global economic estimation results of photovoltaic power generation, and considering the development costs such as transportation and power grid integration, the LCOE of centralized photovoltaic power development in 200 countries and regions around the world is 1.84-9.58 cents/kWh. The global average LCOE is about 2.8 cents/kWh. In the Middle East, Sahara Desert of North Africa and Atacama Desert of South America have excellent conditions for centralized development of photovoltaic power, which are the “solar poles” of the world. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Chile and similar countries have better cost-effectiveness in the development of large-scale photovoltaic power bases because of their excellent geographic conditions, sophisticated transportation system and power grid infrastructure.
The report presents a set of macro site selection methods and digital solutions for hydro, wind and photovoltaic power stations, which can signifcantly improve the effciency of site selection research, and the relevant data for decision making by government offcials and commercial investors. In terms of technical indicator calculation, the method integrates multivariate data fusion, geospatial analysis, linear integer optimization and other algorithms, putting forward the algorithm for site selection of wind and solar power sites based on the selection criteria. The automatic calculation of hydropower parameters, layout scheme of wind turbines by wind farm and layout scheme of modules for photovoltaic power station is concluded by using geographic information system (GIS) and digital elevation model (DEM). In terms of investment level estimation, the technical and economic indicators of nearly 7,000 hydro, wind and photovoltaic power generation projects around the world are widely collected. The trend of technical investment is predicted by multiple linear regression (MLR) method. Neural network intelligent algorithm of deep self-learning algorithm is adopted to predict nontechnical investment with relatively complex influencing factors, and an efficient and practical investment level estimation model for large-scale bases, which can assist in the economic assessment of renewable energy base projects during the macro site selection stage.
In the report, using the digital site selection method, the research conducted a global macro site selection of hydro, wind and photovoltaic power bases. In conjunction, the development condition assessment, development scale assessment and technical and economic indicators calculation were also completed.
In relation to existing hydropower bases, taking into account the resource characteristics and development conditions, the research on cascade layout and development scheme of large-scale hydropower bases at 35 river sections of 21 river basins, including Congo River, Amazon River and Brahmaputra River, as well as the research on engineering scheme and investment level of several large-scale hydropower station projects have been completed. In general, there are 229 cascade hydropower stations to be developed at 35 hydropower bases globally. It is expected it will generate a capacity of 319.8 GW, annual power generation of 1,698 TWH/a, and the LCOE development of 3-5 cents/kWh.
In terms of wind power bases, it is suitable to build large-scale onshore wind power bases in coastal areas of North Africa and East Africa, southern region of Argentina in South America, plateau region of central Asia and western Asia. For larger offshore wind power bases, it is suitable to build them in shallow sea areas of the North Sea and Baltic Sea in Europe, southern India and Southeast Asia. Through research, the report has produced the site selection results of 94 large-scale wind power bases in North Horr (Kenya), Santa Cruz (Argentina), Herat (Afghanistan), etc., and completed the development condition assessment, scale assessment and the analysis of resource characteristics. The report also calculated the economic indicators of the power bases based on engineering construction and power grid integration conditions. The total installed capacity of 94 large-scale wind power bases is 719.9 GW, with an annual power generation of 2,506 TWH/a, and a total investment of about 850 billion USD. The LCOE of onshore wind power bases is 1.75-4.84 cents/kWh, and that of the offshore wind power bases is 4.01-7.40 cents/kWh, which is very cost-effective.
In relation to photovoltaic power bases, it is reasonable to build large-scale photovoltaic power bases in northern and southern part of Africa, the surrounding areas of Atacama Desert in South America and western part of Asia. Through research, the report has produced the site selection results of 90 large-scale photovoltaic power bases, including the Minya Photovoltaic Power Base in Egypt, Atacama Photovoltaic Power Base in Peru, and Tabuk Photovoltaic Power Base in Saudi Arabia. These bases completed the development condition assessment, scale assessment and the analysis of resource characteristics of the power bases, and calculated the economic indicators of the power bases based on the engineering construction and power grid integration conditions. The total installed capacity of 90 largescale photovoltaic power bases is 995.5 GW, with the annual power generation of 1,918 TWh/a and the total investment of about 480 billion USD. The LCOE is 1.65-3.28 cents/kWh, with high cost-effectiveness.
The Global Energy Interconnection is a global allocation platform for large-scale development and efficient utilization of hydro, wind and solar photovoltaic power resources. It is also an important foundation for realizing clean, diversifed, reliable and cost-effective power supply. Considering multi-energy inter-regional outbound transmission, mutual complementarity across time zones, cross-seasonal mutual support and global allocation, the report has produced the power delivery direction and power transmission scheme of major large-scale renewable energy bases globally. The report also takes into account the analysis of the development trend of global energy and power supply and demand and the distribution of large-scale renewable energy bases and major power consumption centers. Outlining the important and significance research data to promote the development of renewable energy bases, accelerating the development of interconnection for transnational, inter-regional and intercontinental power grids, and realizing the global optimal allocation and enable efficient utilization of renewable energy resources.
Business environment, policy conditions and investment and financing level are important factors promoting the implementation of large-scale renewable energy power base projects. To speed up the development of renewable energy resources, the policy environment for energy and investment management in countries around the world should be further improved. Innovative investment and financing models should also be developed. The report reviews the overall policy environment across all continents, and systematically analyzes relevant policies of major countries in every continent across six area of interest, including business environment, renewable energy development policy, power industry system and market, energy and power investment, supportive finance and land, labor and environmental protection. According to the specific development situation of each continent, some investment and financial suggestions are put forward in the report. These include innovating PPP project investment and financing mode, strengthening financial risk management, and constructing regional power market, ensuring the acceleration of the large-scale development and generation of renewable energy and the contribution to quality coordinated development for economy and environment in these continents is successful.