Large-scale hydro-photovoltaic-wind hybrid systems have the potential to improve flexibility with multiple renewable energy sources. However, few studies have investigated the optimal configuration of hybrid systems, especially on a global scale. This paper examines the regulation capacity of global reservoirs and the characteristics of wind and solar resources, thereby configuring hybrid energy systems at 3080 selected sites around the world. The operation schemes of each hybrid system are simulated, and the optimal sizes of wind and PV power plants are determined considering the risks and benefits of systems. The results show that the total potential installed capacity is 1699 GW with an electricity generation of 4348 TW-hours per year. Hydropower, PV and wind power account for 67%, 20% and 13% of the total electricity generation, respectively, and the largest potential is found in the Asia-Pacific region (40%). The fluctuation ratios of hybrid systems are 78–99% lower than those of independent systems, and integration of wind and PV power into hydropower results in an increase in the average utilization efficiency of transmission networks from 50% to 72%. It is expected that 3900 GW of additional PV and wind power will be produced by 2040, 26% of which could be provided by hybrid systems. The results indicate that large-scale hydro-PV-wind hybrid systems could make important contributions to the global transition to low-carbon energy systems.
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