Hydropower

Hydropower is expected to remain the world’s largest source of renewable electricity generation and play a critical role in decarbonising the power system and improving system flexibility.

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Key findings

Global hydropower capacity additions, 2018-2021

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Hydropower capacity additions fell to the lowest level since 2001

Global net additions of hydropower fell to 12.7 GW in 2019, the lowest level recorded since 2001. This is due to the continued slowdown in China, the country that has led global hydropower growth since 1996. Development has slowed significantly in China since 2013, as costs have increased due to resource availability and social acceptance issues. Annual additions are expected to increase in 2020 and further in 2021 largely due to the development of two mega projects in China: Wudongde (10 GW) and Bhaetan (16 GW).

Hydropower generation in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2030

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Hydropower is not fully on track with the Sustainable Development Scenario

Hydropower generation is estimated to have increased by over 2% in 2019 owing to continued recovery from drought in Latin America as well as strong capacity expansion and good water availability in China. However, capacity additions overall declined for the fifth consecutive year, putting this technology off track with the SDS, which requires continuous growth in newly built capacity to maintain an average generation increase of 3% per year through 2030.
Our work on Hydropower

Hydropwer is the largest source of renewable electricity in the world and it is particularly suited to providing system flexibility. The Hydropower TCP is a global platform for advancing hydropower technology, encouraging the sustainable use of water resources for the development and management of hydropower.