A total of 33 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2015, including 2.5 GW of new pumped storage, according to new figures.
According to new estimates published by the International Hydropower Association earlier this month in its latest briefing, 2016 Key Trends in Hydropower, the world’s total installed hydropower capacity reached 1,211 GW, including 145 GW of pumped storage, thanks to 2015 installation figures of 33 GW and 3.2 GW respectively.
“The latest data shows that the hydropower sector is continuing its strong growth trend across the world,” said Richard Taylor, IHA chief executive. “The new Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate action have emphasized hydropower’s vital role in meeting the world’s energy, water and climate challenges. Through its ability to support clean energy systems and provide multiple water services, hydropower can be the key to realizing the ambitious global targets outlined at COP21.”
The report’s authors noted that key drivers for hydropower’s strong and perpetual growth is a general and global increase in demand “not just for electricity, but also for particular qualities such as reliable, clean, and affordable power.”
As with solar and wind, the leading installer of new hydropower was unsurprisingly China, whose total hydropower capacity reached 320 GW thanks to an increase of 19.4 GW. China isn’t just having an impact on the global hydropower market at home, but is impacting development around the globe. China’s China Three Gorges Corporation became the second-largest private power generator in Brazil following the purchase of concessions to operate two hydropower stations totaling 5 GW. China has also had an impact in Africa, with several projects completed or nearing completion in Ethiopia, Guinea, and Zambia.
Hydropower’s Contribution by Region
There remains significant undeveloped potential across all world regions, specifically in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.